Brian Schwartz, laid off during the pandemic, went viral for mowing elderly persons’ lawns gratis. He has been driving eco-friendly practices within the now national non-profit, IWantToMowYourLawn.org, that connects landscaping professionals and other philanthropic-minded businesses and individuals — with persons in need to receive free, safe, socially-distanced, “green” yard care.
With a keen sensitivity and understanding of environmental impacts, I Want To Mow Your Lawn, Inc. — a 501c3 non-profit organization providing no-cost, safe and socially-distanced lawn mowing and yard care services for seniors, military veterans, and disabled persons — today announced it has formally adopted and integrated “green” alternative lawn care practices into its core mission. Since its inception in 2020, the organization’s background-screened landscaping volunteers have helped scores of individuals across the U.S. with their lawn care needs, at no charge.
Now, the organization is encouraging and advocating for its network of helpers to try out electric — offering eco-friendly equipment upgrades that are available directly through the non-profit. Those who use electric or electric and gas receive an “Eco-Friendly” designation attached to their volunteer profile. And, the organization points as it’s encouraging the use of electric for volunteers, it still welcomes gas users to participate and join I Want To Mow Your Lawn to carry out its community-minded actions.
One recent Princeton PSCI report cites that, of the 40 million acres of American land covered by turf grass, there are the heavy carbon costs associated with the maintenance of these lawns specifically relating to gas powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers. The California Air Resources Board cites that an hour of gas leaf blowing equates to driving 1,100 miles, while an hour of gas lawn mowing equates to driving 300-miles. Further, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports underscore the unfortunate fact that “lawn care produces 13 billion pounds of toxic pollutants per year.” Starting in 2024, gas lawn mowers and leaf blowers will be legally banned in California, with other states expected to follow suit in the future.
“With the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimating about 123.73 billion gallons of gasoline consumed in the United States in 2020, an average of about 338 million gallons per day, and with gas prices rising, now is the time to take concerted action in the lawn care space,” said organization Founder and Chief Lawn Mower Brian Schwartz. “Battery-powered equipment not only saves our existing volunteers money, but also makes such volunteerism more attractive to others who want to help people and the environment.”
IWantToMowYourLawn.org is a donation-driven entity, and its revamped Web site makes donations and corporate sponsorships easy through programs and transaction options that can work seamlessly within senior citizen and military discount programs.
“This organization is about more than just free lawn care; it’s a small but meaningful and easy way to bring the citizens of our communities together by helping our fellow neighbors — and in an eco-conscious way that’s more protective of the environment. While the individuals receiving service are always appreciative, a clean cut and nonpolluting community contributes to everyone’s overall well-being — it’s a meaningful way to serve a greater good.”
As the organization has expanded, so has its impact on communities around the country. From Georgia to Minnesota to Colorado, volunteers have been moved to provide lawn care services to neighbors throughout their communities. In New Jersey where Schwartz launched I Want To Mow Your Lawn, students have also been involved. In one town, 20 middle schoolers and their chaperones performed leaf removal for two senior homes on a Board of Education-approved field trip. Three high school students who came out to provide snow removal to a client of I Want To Mow Your Lawn went viral on TikTok with this video and made it into a local newspaper.
Meanwhile, Cindy Code, Executive Director for Project Evergreen and longtime member of the green industry, has joined the Board of Directors at I Want To Mow Your Lawn. Project Evergreen, another non-profit in the industry, provides volunteer lawn care and snow removal services to families of deployed military personnel.
In Arkansas, volunteer Brad was gifted with a new Electric Ryobi Leaf Vac by Schwartz. A recent retiree, Brad (pictured at left) has serviced a client’s home more than 20 times since the summer of 2021.
Back in 2021, one of the group’s first volunteers Tom was awarded a “Hero” certificate by U.S. Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (representing The 11th District of New Jersey) as part of her 2021 Heroes Program. Schwartz shared that Tom has “easily done over 100 yards since starting August 2020 throughout Northern Jersey.” Picture at right (center), Tom was gifted an ECHO leaf blower by Schwartz this past fall to assist with his leaf removal jobs.
Now back to work full-time Schwartz will continue to work with I Want To Mow Your Lawn volunteers to help those in need. With a family and a full-time job, he acknowledges it’s a challenging balance, but one that is rewarding. “Over the summer there was some game changing coverage that led to scores of new helpers signing up across that USA,” he shares. “And that really #MOWtivated me to keep up the #mowmentum.”
(All photos provided by Brian Schwartz)
Read Turf’s April 2021 coverage of I Want To Mow Your Lawn initiatives.