I like the carbon free lawn service idea. My current mower is actually an American lawn reel mower. Coincidentally, I bought it on craigslist for $35. It's from 72, and still cuts like a champ as long as your willing to maintain it. The "carbon free" service would work great in my area where there is a high density of people in town homes with small front lawns.
Maybe YMMV on the small lawn mowers. But I have had extremely good luck with them. I think that most of the problem people have with mowers is failing to maintain them properly. In my experience, if you can buy a used mower that will start quickly without much hassle it can generally be kept in decent working order for a long time. But purchasing one of these used mowers was why I said the idea scales. It's pretty easy to get enough work out of a used mower to buy a better quality mower.
Thanks for sharing your insight. I hope someone jumps on the reel mower service.