MIS initiates recycling program with support from Coke


With two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race weekends and multiple capital improvement projects that occur each year, Michigan International Speedway is stepping up its efforts to recycle materials it produces.

The first step of the speedway’s new year-round recycling program actually began during the June LifeLock 400 and August 3M Performance 400 race weekends. With the support of the Coca-Cola Co., MIS placed recycling bins throughout the speedway’s 1,400 acre property, which allowed fans and workers to discard cans and plastic bottles during the weekends. It was an immediate success following the big races.

“This recycling program, with the help of Coca-Cola, is a program I am very excited about,” track President Roger Curtis said. “MIS and our fans embraced this voluntary program together. We were able to collect 15.3 tons of plastic, cardboard and aluminum during the the race weekends, which we in turn sent to a recycling center. It truly helps our environment when we have successful programs like this one.”

Recycling efforts don’t stop at just cans and bottles at MIS. The Irish Hills track has also recycled construction materials following capital improvement projects. To date, MIS has recycled over 765 tons of construction material and is reusing steel from Nazareth Speedway and Pikes Peak International Raceway to build new and improved grandstand seating.

“Once we finish with a specific project on speedway property, we make a conscious effort to recycle the materials that are left over,” MIS Director of Facilities Dan Salenbien said. “The idea of putting the excess material in a landfill is not environmentally friendly, so we do the best we can to recycle our construction materials.”

Additionally, MIS started an office recycling program in June with the idea of recycling paper, newspapers, cardboard and plastics that the speedway offices produce Monday-Friday.

“I’m glad we instituted an office recycling program,” MIS staff Accountant Kelly Daniels said. “It’s a small way that we can participate in this program, which will help our environment. It’s the right thing to do.”

These various recycling programs are all voluntary and are part of the overall conservation efforts the speedway announced in mid-July. MIS has also voluntarily enrolled in the Michigan Business Pollution Prevention Partnership (MBP3) and Retired Engineers Technical Assistance Program (RETAP) through the State of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality, while also participating in wetland conservation and looking at wind and solar power alternatives.

With all these initiatives moving forward, the Conservation Fund, a national non-profit organization based just outside of Washington D.C., has asked MIS President Roger Curtis to speak at its board of director’s meeting, scheduled for Thursday, July 24 in Washington D.C.

Earlier this year, MIS and the Conservation Fund partnered with the Ryan Newman Foundation to form “Racing for Wildlife.” MIS is working with Racing for Wildlife to restore the Mill Lake Youth Camp in Waterloo Twp., which is just 30 minutes from the track. As part of its relationship, Racing for Wildlife has also become the title sponsor of the speedway’s ARCA RE/MAX Series event until 2010.

“Some may find this partnership of motorsports and conservation unique, but the vast majority of our guests share the values of sustainability, preservation and love of the outdoors,” Curtis said. “This is a wonderful opportunity for me to speak in front of a group who understands this connection and can help promote and foster that relationship to accomplish some significant goals in the future.”

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