A back to school reminder for drivers: Turn your engines off while you wait.

Idling campaign at local school
Students running an idling campaign at Sir Ernest MacMillan School.

It’s hard to believe that another school year is here and with it comes a friendly reminder about idling. In an ideal world, it would be great if your kids walked or rolled to school. However, if you are doing school drop-off and pick up by vehicle, please turn your engine off while you wait.

If “idling gets you nowhere,” then why do so many people idle? Is it the convenience? Or maybe you just never really thought about it. Whatever the reason, idling is not good for the environment, your vehicle or your wallet. Idling wastes fuel, which isn’t cheap these days, and it can also damage your engine’s components as an idling vehicle does not run at its peak temperature. Gas and diesel-powered vehicles also release emissions into the environment. Using your vehicle less and not idling will help reduce your personal contribution to climate change.

Did you know that the City of Burlington has a one-minute idling limit for unnecessary idling? So, what is unnecessary idling? Well, if you’re waiting for someone with your engine running at school, the arena or the train station and we’re not in the middle of an extreme heat or cold alert, you’re idling unnecessarily and could be fined $120!

Burlington schools can get “idling gets you nowhere” posters, bookmarks and stickers plus borrow a large outdoor banner that can be attached to a fence on school property to remind drivers to turn off their engines. How much does this cost? Absolutely nothing! Contact me at environment@burlington.ca to get materials for your school.

Idling awareness campaign at Tom Thomson School
Students promoting idling awareness at Tom Thomson School

Tom Thomson Public School is a great example of a local school using our materials to get the word out about idling running idle-free campaigns every year. Last year, Ms. Johnson’s Eco Tigers spoke with drivers dropping off students at school about the importance of turning engines off. The Eco Tigers also wrote, starred in, directed and edited their own Eco Tigers film called “Anti-Idling Week.”

If you want to make a difference like the Eco Tigers, I can help. Ask me for bookmarks, posters, stickers and/or a banner for your school’s idling campaign at environment@burlington.ca.

Tom Thomson Public School Idling Awareness Campaign.
Eco Tigers club students at Tom Thomson Public School holding up a banner as part of their Idling Awareness Campaign. Image courtesy of A. Johnson.

Take Action Burlington!

If you’re parked or waiting in your car, truck or bus, turn your engine off because idling gets you nowhere! Collectively we can make a difference.

This post was originally published in August 2018. It has been updated and re-posted to continue raising awareness about idling.

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