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Do the Right Thing, Start a No-Idling Campaign

Like a lot of parents, I worry about keeping my child safe and making sure she eats enough vegetables. But I hadn’t really thought about air pollution until last February. That’s when The UPS Foundation announced a grant to help take the Clean Air Campaign’s No-Idling initiative nationwide.

No Idling Campaign SignThe campaign aims to improve air quality at schools. How? By encouraging parents and bus drivers to turn off vehicle engines while they wait to pick up children.

Why should you care? Well, consider these facts:

•    Unlike adults, children’s lungs are still in development
•    On average, they breathe 50% more air per pound of body weight than adults
•    Children are closer to the ground, which means they’re also closer to tailpipes

My child’s school can have up to 20 cars waiting in line after school. With all those engines running, that’s a lot of pollution being pumped into the air.

At the start of school in August, I launched a no-idling campaign. Free materials, including school signs, pledge cards and flyers were provided by The Clean Air Campaign (in partnership with Earthday Network). Parent volunteers signed up to help at the PTA meeting.

Our school’s pre-campaign survey showed 80% of cars idled during afternoon pickup. We hope to make a big dent in that number when we conduct our follow-up survey.

Here’s a video from the school’s campaign launch:

Want to start a no-idling campaign? Contact education@earthday.net for tips and materials. I’ll provide an update on campaign results at my child’s school next month.

Category: Caring for Communities, Sustainability
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    Comments [9]

  1. I presented the Do the Right Thing, Start a No-Idling Campaign to my daughter school and they were loving the idea. So far the success stories have been great and less children are getting sick.

  2. Melanie – thanks for sharing your story. When you think about it, turning off your engine for a few seconds is a simple act that each of us can do to improve our air quality.

  3. great another solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. now were to believe that because a child walks somewhere near a running vehicle out in the open they will get sick? someone has too much time on their hands.

  4. Not really sure if they do or started this in the States; I never did when I lived there, but overhere in Germany it is a big “No No” to even start your car up and leave it on while you scrap your car windows or waiting for the defrost to get warm to do most of the work. They scrap the ice and snow off all the windows, then start the car and directly drive off… Big savings in air pollution and gas.

  5. Mr. Conrad, here in Minnesota when I leave work, like you,
    I scrape/brush my windows on snowy nights, then I start my
    car’s engine, and drive slowly until the car’s engine is
    warm. Base off of my past observations, it seems many, if
    not most, persons start their vehicle’s engine, then
    scrape their windows; wait until the vehicle is warm
    inside, then drive away.

    Ms. Curtis-Magley, I’m curious if you have reference
    material that you would be willing to share to help me
    find more details about your posting above. Also, I would
    be interested in metrical data on the starter/engine wear,
    fuel consumption, et al, with (or without) using the
    no-idle methodology. If you know where I could find more
    specific information, please let me know; I’d appreciate it.

    I wish you all good holiday.

    • Thanks for your comments and questions. Dan McMackin’s post about tips for saving gas provided additional details on the benefits of no idling. Be sure to read the comments, where you’ll find additional information from Dan – much of which addresses your questions. If you’d like to learn more about starting a no-idling campaign, visit the Earthday Network site. There’s a link within my post.

  6. Ms. Curtis-Magley, thanks for your response.

    (I wonder why this site didn’t notify me when my comments
    were responded to. I may not have even known you spent
    the time to respond if I hadn’t came back. Again, thanks.)

  7. UPS would do even better if they didn’t replace their
    catalyst mufflers that some of their package cars came
    equipped with (ie Ford w/Cummins 6BT) with non-catalyst
    mufflers for cost savings.

    The pollution that these vehicles produce can cause
    irreparable harm to people and especially children. These
    vehicles were modified in violation of the EPA Clean Air

    UPS – do the right thing and remove these vehicles from
    service or retrofit them back to OEM standards so we can
    ALL breath easier.

    • Mr. Sikora, Thank you for your concern and comment.

      In our research of your concern we have not
      discovered violations of any environmental
      regulations. We did have a discontinued Ford muffler
      replaced with an after market muffler. The after market
      muffler meets or exceeds all the original equipment
      manufacturers specifications for the 1994 and 1995
      Ford package cars with the 6BT engine.

      We take great pride in improving the environments in
      which we operate by maintaining a compliant fleet. We
      also have the largest alternative fuel fleet in the
      industry and work in many different arenas to reduce
      fuel consumption. As you may know we train our
      drivers and schedule their routes in the most fuel
      efficient manner, we also search for new technologies
      to reduce fuel consumption as well as maintaining our
      fleet for optimum fuel efficiency.

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