Background

For much of the year, commercial landscaping companies provide a variety of lawn and plant care services to residents and commercial businesses. While these services are an important part of the local economy, they are also a source of routine concern among community members.

Certain types of landscaping equipment present a variety of environmental and health concerns. These include noise, air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Two-stroke engines, such as those commonly found in leaf blowers, are the most cited area of concern. These small engines release higher amounts of toxic chemicals and dust into the air, contributing to severe respiratory and other health issues.

Landscaping equipment is also a source of GHG emissions that must be reduced to achieve the community’s climate goals.

Yard trimmer

"Grass Trimmer" by sacks08 is marked with CC BY 2.0.

Project Overview

The city is in the early stages of exploring potential strategies to limit the use of leaf blowers and other landscaping equipment, with an emphasis on two-stroke engines powered by gasoline or diesel.

The city aims to address community environmental and health concerns, while prioritizing racial equity and economic vitality.

As a first step, the city plans to work with an outside consultant to evaluate best practices adopted by other communities and the state of landscaping services within Boulder. The city would then carry out robust community engagement to inform a set of voluntary and regulatory strategies that would be presented to City Council.

This process will align with the city’s Racial Equity Plan, and will work to identify and address the disproportionate impacts of potential equipment restrictions and/or incentive-based strategies on Boulder residents, businesses, service providers and their workforce.

Strategies could include, but are not limited to:

  • A full or partial ban of equipment by type or fuel type

  • Incentive programs that offset the cost of equipment transition

  • Gradual policy implementation that aligns with equipment replacement cycles

Next Steps

Additional information, including engagement and feedback opportunities will be available soon.