Phyllis Theermann

Idling  Is Against the Law
Has Costs & is

Town departments across Wellesley, Girl Scout Troop 73505 and Wellesley Green Schools are proud to launch the Earth Day 2019 No Idling Campaign.

Commencing on Earth Day, Monday, April 22, Girl Scouts have been out at a variety of schools thanking drivers for NOT IDLING with handmade car fresheners with a no idling message.

The Girl Scouts are sharing the message that not only is idling against the law and there are costs associated with idling, but it’s unhealthy, especially for children around school car lines.

Thanks to a coordinated campaign with Wellesley’s Board of Selectmen, Health, Police, Public Works, Recreation, and School Departments, as well as Wellesley’s Housing Authority,  Natural Resources Commission, the Municipal Light Plant, Sustainable Energy Committee, Trails Committee, Wellesley Free Library, and Youth Commission, in conjunction with Dana Hall School, Friends of Brookside, Friends of Morses Pond, Sustainable Wellesley, Temple Beth Elohim Green Team,  UU Wellesley, Wellesley Cancer Prevention Project, Wellesley Village Church, Wellesley Conservation Council, Wellesley Council on Aging, Wellesley Green Schools, Wellesley Hills Congregational Church, Wellesley United Soccer Club, Wellesley Weston Chabad House, Wellesley Youth Baseball & Softball, Wellesley Youth Lacrosse Club, and the inspirational Girl Scout Troop 73505, it will be hard to ignore the town-wide no idling messaging.  

Look for IT’S VITAL NOT TO IDLE signs at schools as well as at the RDF, at Longfellow Pond and other areas around Wellesley. There are MANY good reasons not to idle.

Did you know?


  • 40+ hazardous air pollutants are emitted from engine exhaust

  • 10 seconds of idling wastes more fuel than restarting the engine

  • Driving warms up your car 2 times faster than idling on a cold day

  • 5 minutes is the legal limit before violating Massachusetts State Law

  • Penalties for the first offense is $100 and the second and subsequent are $500

  • Children have developing respiratory systems, breathe 50% more air per pound of body weight than adults, and are closer to exhaust pipes

  • Outdoor air pollution is one of the 8 leading triggers for asthma attacks

  • 1 gallon of gas produces 17lbs of CO 2 – a contributor to greenhouse gases

  • 2 minutes of idling uses as much fuel as traveling 1 mile

Consider turning your engine off the next time you are waiting in the car. It can improve public health, protect the environment and enhance the quality of life.


***Green Communities

The Department of Energy Resources (DOER) agreed to fund both projects in Wellesley’s Green Communities Designation Grant proposal. A grant award of $137,250 will go toward an exterior light-emitting diode (LED) retrofit on the Department of Public Works (DPW) campus that will upgrade 116 lights, and an energy audit of the Town’s water and wastewater systems. The audit is expected to identify energy conservation measures that the Town will propose in future Green Communities grant applications.

***Sustainable Development Guidelines

The SEC is reviewing development and building guidelines and policies for cities, towns and colleges across the United States. The information gleaned from this review will inform the process by which the Town of Wellesley writes its own sustainable development guidelines.


Our new Assistant Superintendent, who will join the school department in July, currently directs the Weston Transportation program that is in house and she is very knowledgeable on the subject. The Transportation Working Group is meeting with the Transportation Director of MAPC (regional planning agency for eastern MA) to be briefed on a variety of issues including: collaborative models, the latest technology (e.g. a potential pilot for anti-idling equipment), school transportation models, programs to reduce single vehicle trips (e.g. bike sharing) and potential access to metrics that would better measure our success directly in Wellesley. Immediately afterwards, Ellen Gibbs, Chair of the Selectmen, will convene a meeting with the three local colleges to explore whether collaboration is possible on transportation programs.


Matt Delaney Food Services Manager, Wellesley Public School. Champion of Food Recover Progra

Great news from Wellesley’s Sustainable Energy Committee:

“A number of schools and colleges in Wellesley and the Metro-West area will donate an estimated 20,000 meals this year to an organization in Cambridge that takes wholesome, edible surplus and leftover food and passes it on to people in

Wellesley’s 3R Working Group – which consists of representatives from the Department of Public Works, the Sustainable Energy Committee, and the Natural Resources Commission – has been working with the Environmental Protection Agency/New England and the Cambridge-based non-profit Food For Free to develop a collaborative food rescue initiative. The food service vendors dedicated to its implementation include Whitsons Culinary Group, Rebecca’s Café, Sodexo, Chartwells, and AVI Foodsystems. The initiative delivers on the goals of the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge Program focusing on local K-12 schools, colleges and universities.

The collaborative food rescue program participants include Wellesley Public Schools, Babson College, Bentley University, Olin College of Engineering and Wellesley College. To date, over 4,000 pounds of food have been donated since September from Bentley, Olin and Wellesley Middle School; the program was rolled out in the other schools in recent weeks. With this critical mass of participating schools and colleges in place, other local organizations with serviceable leftover food will be encouraged to join.

Food For Free – a food rescue organization that distributed over 2 million pounds of food last year – is repackaging this rescued food into single-serve meals. Recipients may include people living in shelters, in temporary housing such as motels, in housing without full kitchens, and those receiving Meals on Wheels.

“Translating this dream into a realty has been a complicated challenge as there were few precedents of such a comprehensive and collaborative initiative,” said Ellen Korpi, Vice Chair of the Town’s Sustainable Energy Committee. “It took the support and guidance of the Wellesley’s school administration, food services vendor, and the health department to bring this project to fruition.”

“In order to make it worth our sending a truck to this area, we needed a minimum volume per pick up,” explained Sasha Purpura, Executive Director of Food For Free. “Because these institutions collaborated and came to us as a group, we were able to view this as a single collection, making them a viable food donation partner.”

“The commitment and teamwork of the food services organizations is key to the success of such an initiative,” said Alison Cross, 3R Working Group member and author of the program’s standard operation procedures. “They are responsible for moving the surplus food through the process of collection, storage and preparation for pick-up, while protecting the integrity and safety of the food.”

Wasted food is a growing problem in this country and an untapped opportunity. In 2014 alone, more than 38 million tons of food waste was generated and the EPA estimates that food makes up the single largest category of waste material in landfills, constituting a fifth of discarded municipal solid waste. Much of this wasted food is wholesome and edible and could be serving the one in six, or 52 million American households, that were “food insecure” in 2013, according to the US Department of Agriculture. “Food insecurity,” which describes a household’s inability to provide enough food for every person to live an active, healthy life, is one way to measure hunger. In Massachusetts today, it is estimated that one in ten people are food insecure.

One of the side benefits that stem from food waste donation programs, according to the EPA, is that organizations that donate food see new opportunities for reducing leftovers. The donation process creates an informational feedback loop for waste generators that inevitably reduces both their wasted food, and their food waste removal costs.

As the 3R Working Group recruited local colleges for this program, conversations with MassBay Community College, located in Wellesley, revealed that 52% of the students surveyed there, indicated they were food insecure. Food For Free is now working with MassBay to develop a program for these students to receive food from the Food For Free Family Meals program.

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