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Mayor Harrell Directs City Departments to Transition to Electric Leaf Blowers 

Advancing climate efforts and supporting quality of life, City departments directed to create a roadmap putting Seattle on course to fully transition from gas-powered leaf blowers no later than 2027 

SEATTLE (May 26, 2023) – Today, Mayor Harrell announced a new directive to phase out the use of gas-powered leaf blowers by City departments and support the transition to electric leaf blowers.  

The directive follows the adoption of Resolution 32064 which requested, in part, that City departments develop a plan to phase out the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. 

“These gas-powered leaf blowers aren’t just a nuisance; they impact our neighborhoods – and the workers who operate them – through air and noise pollution,” said Mayor Harrell. “We’re advancing a wide array of bold initiatives to improve our environment, from fighting climate change to enhancing our tree canopy – but it will take actions big and small to create the healthy, thriving city we want to see. This effort provides our City government with another opportunity to lead by example and transition away from these machines, replacing them with options that are carbon-neutral, quieter, and safer for operators and residents alike. We are grateful to Councilmember Pedersen for his committed efforts in helping Seattle turn over a new leaf – and embrace sustainability, electrification, and quality of life.”  

The City currently owns about 427 gas-powered leaf blowers and 77 electric leaf blowers. The transition away from gas-powered leaf blowers will require coordination across departments to ensure City facilities and employees are adequately equipped with the infrastructure and equipment to use electric leaf blowers. 

Mayor Harrell’s directive requires City departments to take several actions in 2023 to begin this transition, including: 

  • Starting in July 2023, all new leaf blower purchases by departments must be electric powered equipment, either plug in or battery, to begin transitioning to an all-electric inventory. 
  • Conduct a current and accurate inventory of all existing leaf blowers. This inventory will be updated annually to assess the status of the transition. 
  • Create a roadmap to phase out gas-powered leaf blowers by 2025, achieving at least a 50% reduction in use no later than 2025, 75% by 2026, and 100% by 2027, aiming to achieve that goal sooner. 
  • Assess current charging capacity at facilities and identify infrastructure improvements needed to support battery charging of electrified equipment. 
  • Form an internal department transition team made up of one or more members from each impacted department. This team, facilitated by Seattle Parks and Recreation, will meet quarterly to share information and align best practices. 

Departments are also directed to incorporate other considerations such as transitioning to electric vehicles to allow for charging in the field, identifying efficiencies in landscape practices that can reduce the need for leaf blowers, and upgrading electrical capacity at City-owned facilities to support these tools.  

“As gas-fueled leaf blowers continue to imperil public health, I’m heartened by our Mayor directing all city government departments to implement both the proviso and key portions of my Resolution, as adopted by the City Council to equitably phase out these harmful machines as soon as possible,” said Councilmember Alex Pedersen, who chairs the Transportation & Seattle Public Utilities Committee. 

“Seattle Parks and Recreation continues to find ways to manage our nearly 500 parks more sustainably, and this includes the years we’ve dedicated to learning how to reduce emissions in our operations,” said AP Diaz, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent. “SPR is excited to lead the City in efforts to transition away from the use of gas-powered leaf blowers, providing a quieter and cleaner park experience for the public and our employees while continuing to maintain our parks for safety and enjoyment. Thank you to the concerned residents, Councilmember Pederson, and Mayor Harrell for expanding these efforts!”