From the December/January 2009 Issue:

Greener Grass

  • Writer: Lisa Rackley

Lawn maintenance becomes safer for you and the environment

As residents of the Garden State, we take particular pride in our landscaping. According to the New Jersey Environmental Center, however, the pesticides and gas-guzzling lawn mowers we use contribute to air pollution and lead to numerous health problems, including cancers. The good news is that some products are now available to help clean the air we breathe and give our lawns and gardens a healthier eco footprint.

Man’s Best Friend. Worms? Yes. The trail they leave behind will make your lawn and garden perform better. Terracycle in West Trenton produces organic liquid fertilizer derived from worm droppings. The nutrient-filled fertilizer is available in all-purpose, flower-specific, seed starter, potting mix, and lawn-care formats. Recycled soft drink bottles and milk jugs make for eco-smart packaging. $4 to $15 at Whole Foods, Target, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot. For more information and other sources, 609-393-4252 or

Low Rider. The RoboMower RL1000, a fully automated lawn mower by Friendly Robotics Inc., mulches grass (eliminating the need to collect clippings), is powered by a rechargeable battery (leaving behind no gas or oil emissions), identifies rocks and other objects you don’t want to hit, and comes with a perimeter system to help you avoid venturing into unwanted areas. Designed for lawns up to 16,000 square feet, it costs $1,900. A smaller version, the RL850, covers medium-sized lawns. Available at Target, Sears, and Costco. For other sources, 212-239-8230 or