• Suzanne Aptman

Blowin' in the wind; not in the fumes

At its February 16, 2021 meeting, the Montclair Township Council voted to enact several updates to Montclair’s ordinance regulating the use of gas-powered leaf blowers. Over a year ago, the Montclair Environmental Commission endorsed strengthening this law due to the environmental and public health hazards that gas leaf blowers pose. We applaud the Council for this meaningful step toward a healthier and more sustainable future.

Councilor Peter Yacobellis created a chart to compare the old and new laws:

Electric leaf blowers remain legal to use all the time.

To report a violation of the law:

Call Code Enforcement at 973-509-5703 and/or email codeenf@montclairnjusa.org. You may also want to call the landscaping company to ensure that the owner/manager(s) is aware of the law and its terms.

Our friends at Quiet Montclair, who were instrumental to this successful outcome, share the following ideas for reducing your use of gas leaf blowers:

  • Wait to do “spring clean-up” until there have been several days in a row above 50 degrees. This will allow time for all the beneficial insects and wildlife overwintering in leaf litter, hollow plant stems, and other organic matter to gradually “wake up” and depart. Then use rakes or, if needed, electric leaf blowers to tidy up your property. Then, compost all that organic matter!

  • During the summer, set your mower to return grass clippings to the lawn, where they will quickly break down and return nutrients to your soil. Alternatively, collect the clippings in a bag and compost them. Read more from Rutgers Cooperative Extension.

  • If your patio or walks need to be cleaned off, use a simple broom or, if needed, an electric leaf blower.

  • At the end of the growing season, fallen leaves are an incredible resource — don’t let them off your property! Try mulch-mowing them into the lawn, raking them into your borders and beds to insulate your plants and beneficial wildlife, collecting them with a mower bag and using them for mulch, or composting them. Read more from the Rutgers Master Gardener program.