Nascar green flags 'e-scrap' recycling program

The sophisticated electronic components in race cars, fleet vehicles and the big rigs used for NASCAR are expected to be fodder for an e-waste program the racing organization is starting this season.

NASCAR plans to work on the initiative with Creative Recycling Systems, based Tampa, Fla., in the latest addition to the racing organization's recycling program, which already claims bragging rights as the largest and most diverse in pro sports.

NASCAR and CRS recently announced that the recycling firm has become one of the racing group's Official Green Partners. The company was introduced as a new green partner Friday in Daytona as fans and drivers prepared for the first race of the 2012 season in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series.

The new relationship has huge potential for expanding the scope and volume of recycling by NASCAR and its business-to-business partners, said Mike Lynch, the managing director of NASCAR Green Innovation. "The real impact of these folks is pretty cool," he said.

Creative Recycling provides collection, recycling and recovery solutions for e-waste -- typically business equipment, personal gadgets and household electronics. The firm also contends with banking, financial and medical technology that has reached the end of its useful life in its original state.

Now, Creative Recycling will also recycle office equipment from NASCAR and its many business partners, including venues and race teams, said Lynch.

CRS also is to become the go-to firm for recycling electronic components in all the vehicles that make NASCAR possible, Lynch said. That ranges from the showpieces of the industry that speed around the tracks to the workaday vehicles -- the business cars used in fleets as well as the caravans of semis that haul NASCAR's portable media operations center, race cars, and driver and team equipment from venue to venue.

And CRS will work with NASCAR on fan engagement events, including collection drives, to promote the idea of e-waste recycling.

CRS will start with recycling the organization's business electronics and computer equipment, and then will expand the program to other materials and the promotions for fans as the two green partners develop their new relationship, Lynch said. He said he anticipates further news on the initiative, along with details on some activities for fans, this spring in time for Earth Day.

Boosting E-Scrap Recycling

The likely tonnage of e-scrap from NASCAR and its business partners can help expand the scope and reach of CRS's services, and NASCAR's broader recycling program, said the recycling company and the racing organization. And promoting the concept to the audience of America's No. 1 spectator sport, whose following is estimated at 75 million, is expected to raise the awareness of recycling personal and household electronics, computers and gadgets -- items that range from cell phones and laptops to TVs and stereo systems.

In business, e-cycling has become an expectation, Lynch said. "Companies are realizing that it is no longer acceptable for this material to go into landfill," he said.

More and more consumers are realizing it as well but are often stymied because it's not as easy to deal with e-waste as it is to recycle a newspaper or a bottle. Users have to find a place that accepts e-scrap and, often, must bring their material to a collection site. Bigger items, like televisions, can be problematic. And it's not always clear whether the items will be processed responsibly or domestically.

"And so, people will often just put their items into the trash and cringe," said Lynch. NASCAR focused on CRS because of its credibility as a responsible recycler, he said.

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