Green flags equal green trees
By Bob Okon email@example.com September 16, 2012 8:10PM
Updated: October 18, 2012 6:06AM
JOLIET — NASCAR racing has gone green.
There always were the green flags waved to start the race and re-start it when needed. Now, those green flags have an added meaning for Jim Teiber, the arborist for the city of Joliet.
The city gets 10 trees from NASCAR for every time the green flags were waved at the weekend races.
Teiber said NASCAR started the program at just the right time for the city. Joliet stopped buying trees as a budget-cutting measure at about the same time NASCAR started the program, which was two years ago. But the city needs trees because so many damaged ash trees are being cut down as a result of the emerald ash borer invasion.
“We’re putting the trees in some of those subdivisions where the higher populations of ash trees have been,” Teiber said. “Those trees have been greatly needed in some subdivisions.”
Teiber, interviewed before race weekend, said the city has been getting about 70 trees a year. Joliet had been buying anywhere from 300 to 500 trees a year previously. So, Teiber said, the trees donated by NASCAR are “greatly appreciated.”
NASCAR expects to donate more than 2,000 trees this year, the third year of the program, said Mike Lynch, managing director for green innovation for NASCAR.
It’s one of several environmentally friendly projects going on at any given NASCAR race, he said.
“NASCAR launched this green effort as a comprehensive strategy for the sport just about four years ago,” Lynch said.
Some programs that fans may have noticed at the weekend NASCAR races in Joliet are:
Sprint’s “Recycle for Victory” bins where fans drop off phones to be recycled.
About 500 Coca-Cola recycling bins placed around Chicagoland Speedway.
The use of Sunoco Green E15 ethanol fuel in the cars at the races.
Safety-Kleen services used to recycle oil, oil filters and brake fluid at 200 NASCAR races a year.
Recycling of about 121,000 tires a year from NASCAR races through Goodyear.