Environment & Science

South Pasadena becomes a 'Green Zone' city

AGZA, TruGreen and officials from the City of South Pasadena gather to dedicate Garfield Park as the nation's first zero-emission AGZA Green Zone municipal park.
AGZA, TruGreen and officials from the City of South Pasadena gather to dedicate Garfield Park as the nation's first zero-emission AGZA Green Zone municipal park.
Courtesy of AGZA
AGZA, TruGreen and officials from the City of South Pasadena gather to dedicate Garfield Park as the nation's first zero-emission AGZA Green Zone municipal park.
AGZA, TruGreen and officials from The City of South Pasadena gather to dedicate Garfield Park as the nation's first zero-emission AGZA Green Zone municipal park. (FILE)
Courtesy of AGZA
AGZA, TruGreen and officials from the City of South Pasadena gather to dedicate Garfield Park as the nation's first zero-emission AGZA Green Zone municipal park.
TruGreen Land Care maintains South Pasadena's Garfield Park with a Mean Green 60" ride-on mower.
Courtesy of AGZA


That familiar, gas-fueled revving and roaring of the lawnmower? You won’t be hearing it anymore in any of South Pasadena’s public spaces.

That’s because the city has gone green on all of its grounds maintenance operations. All hedge trimming, lawn mowing and leaf blowing on city-owned property is now done completely with low-noise, zero-emissions equipment.

The switch was the product of a three-year joint effort between South Pasadena and the American Green Zone Alliance (AGZA), a Southern California-based organization dedicated to making landscape maintenance work more environmentally friendly. And South Pasadena’s long haul toward emissions-free landscaping has earned it the title of the first AGZA “Green Zone” city in the country – a certification that AGZA awarded to the city on Friday.

“South Pasadena is not a huge city, but they’ve been champions of this,” Luke Massman-Johnson, AGZA’s chief financial officer, told KPCC.

The organization’s certification recognizes 41 acres of city property – including public parks, medians and other areas with public lawns or hedges – where only low-noise, electric-powered maintenance equipment is used. AGZA estimates that South Pasadena’s shift to zero-emissions equipment will save around 31 tons of pollutants each year.

“Three-year-olds and five-year-olds on the swings [in public parks] are not breathing fumes anymore,” Massman-Johnson said.

The certification doesn’t account for any of the gas-powered trucks or other vehicles used to transport the new equipment to the city – but Massman-Johnson said he hoped those factors would be included in the future.

While South Pasadena may be AGZA’s first “Green Zone” city, the organization is working to get other SoCal cities to follow suit. It’s already been working with places like Long Beach, El Monte and Santa Monica, to test and roll out new zero-emissions equipment. On the East Coast, AGZA’s partner organization, Quiet Communities, has collaborated with the city of Southampton in New York, which itself is on the cusp of becoming another “Green Zone” city.

“We think this is the first of a domino chain,” Massman-Johnson said.