Zionsville Times Sentinel

Commentary

July 3, 2013

Make a green sprint to a yard sale

Yard sales are part of Zionsville’s warm weather routine. Yes, even the high-end subdivisions declare a “community yard sale” day. Whether hunting essentials and bargains or treasures and finds, yard sales add a bit of adventure to the necessary routine of shopping. In addition, both the seller and buyer wade into an environmentally friendly realm.

From the green-living perspective, yard sales are much more than financial resources. Keeping items out of the landfill hits one green tenet. Even better, it hits the trifecta: reduce, reuse and recycle! Moreover, no one finds it unseemly to buy used instead of new; in fact, it’s often a matter of pride, “Can you believe it? I got this for a steal at a yard sale!” Yard sales are universally accepted and yet so environmentally friendly, that I find extra pleasure in spending a morning making the rounds.

However, last week I was stunned by the number of parked cars left running while people were hopping from sale to sale. I know we are all in a hurry to score a find and rush to the next sale, but it didn’t seem like speed was the reason for these idlers. Yes, it was warm, but cars cool down quickly, and there were no kids or elders waiting in the car.

According to the Consumer Energy Center, car engine idling is linked to increases in asthma, allergies, heart and lung disease and cancer. Even in newer cars, idling is a waste of energy and money, as well as a health hazard. When you idle, the car is getting zero MPG; and more than 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel than restarting the engine. In addition, since fuel is only partially combusted when idling, fuel residues build up, which can damage engine components.

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