Idle Free Zone campaign
Why avoid idling? (And what is it?)
Idling is running your engine when you're not driving, such as waiting to pick up a family member, warming up a car in a driveway, or sitting at a drive-thru (coffee stand, fast-food or bank).
Idling causes local air pollution, which is especially harmful to young, developing lungs
It emits greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change
It wastes money - "idling gets you nowhere!"
Contrary to common belief, it's actually better for your engine to turn it off and on again rather than idling, if you'll be waiting for more than 10 seconds.
Our first large, multi-phase community outreach campaign is an effort to encourage drivers to limit unnecessary idling. We're so fortunate in our valley to have four beautiful seasons - and during at least two of them, there's no need to idle your car!
Our campaign, which launched in spring of 2021, will continue each spring and fall. Our pilot included preschools, daycares and private schools, and engaged students to educate their parents on the dangers of idling. It just so happened that during our pilot, the mass vaccination site for Covid at Town Toyota Center was resulting in lots of air pollution from cars idling, so we were able to divert some of our signage to help in that effort through June. See pictures below of our spring 2021 pilot at Seeds Learning Center, TEAMS Learning Center and TTC.
Now we're working to bring the campaign to Wenatchee and Eastmont public elementary schools. Even young students can participate by collecting data by counting how many minutes they see cars idling at pick-up time. Then they educate their parents on why they should turn off their engines while they're waiting (for cleaner air, healthier lungs, and to save money) and can have parents sign a pledge. Then the kids can observe again and see if they made a difference!
This program is sponsored by Columbia Valley Community Health and Confluence Health. For more information on idling, read this from the Department of Energy.
Want to give involved?
We are currently looking for more locations to partner with. We provide temporary and/or permanent signage, educational materials for drivers (parents or customers) and can offer presentations as well. Email Jana at hello[at]sustainablewenatchee.org if you'd like to get involved!
Pilot participants: TEAMS Learning Center, Seeds Learning Center, The Learning Well, Joyful Scholars Montessori, and the Town Toyota Center Covid-19 mass vaccination site.