Sustainable America Blog

The Back-to-School Rule Every Parent Needs to Know

Idling cars near school playground

As kids head back to school around the country, here’s one school rule every parent needs to follow: turn off your car when you’re waiting near a school.

Air monitoring at schools typically finds “hot spots” of air pollution during pick-up times, which is a direct result of idling vehicles. We just launched a new infographic (below) explaining more about this problem.

Please take our back-to-school pledge to stop idling at For an even bigger impact, challenge your school community to take the pledge too. Spread the message with the infographic below or the video we created. They can be posted on school Facebook pages, newsletters and websites.

Infographic asking parents to pledge to stop idling at school

Reducing vehicle idling is one easy way to green your school community. Parents who limit idling will also enjoy fuel savings, help cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the air pollution they’re breathing as well. Join thousands of parents who’ve already decided to stop idling and take the pledge today.

Sources: U.S. EPA, Environmental Defense Fund, World Health Organization, American Lung Association

Video: How Idling at School Affects Kids’ Health
Student Group Takes Action on Idling
Why (and How) Your School Can Do a Food Waste Audit

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.

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