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solar powered lawn mower

This is Christian LaCarte's Smart car, pulling a trailer with solar panels attached to recharge the batteries of his electric lawn mower.

For people who need their lawns mowed, but also want to reduce their carbon footprint, Christian LaCarte, of Park View, has the answer.

He has founded a business called Sustainable Stewards in which he'll mow your yard with an electric mower, powered by batteries that are charged by a solar generator that he created.

And he'll come to your place with the Ego Power mower from The Home Depot in a trailer pulled by his three-cylinder Smart Car.

He also will fertilize, using a natural product.

LaCarte is an environmentalist, and when he worked as a naturalist for the Scott County Conservation Board, he researched sustainability and ways to be more efficient on an individual scale. He looked at alternative energy, lighting, gardening, composting and harvesting rain, and he would teach the public how to be more sustainable at home, on an individual scale.

Although he's changed jobs — he works for the Scott County Y as director of eight before- and after-school programs for children — his goal continues.

"As the Earth changes, we are in need of more sustainable practices," the Western Illinois University graduate, said. "We can all do something as individuals to make our homes and properties more sustainable."

He cites Environmental Protection Agency statistics that say that more than 17 million gallons of gasoline are spilled each year while refueling lawn equipment.

The agency also estimates that 5 percent of air pollution comes from gas-powered lawn equipment and that, hour for hour, gas mowers produce 11 times as much pollution as a new car. Among the pollutants are carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and other volatile organic compounds.

So far he has about a dozen clients. And not to worry if the day is cloudy; LeCarte's lawn mower will work anyway.

For more information, go to Facebook.com/sustainablestewards, send an email to sustainablestewards@outlook.com or call 563-340-1347.

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