Pocono Raceway, Penn State Working To Eliminate Waste


LONG POND, Pa. – The goals for Pocono Raceway are set extremely high, especially when it goes to green initiatives.

That’s why the 2.5-mile raceway has partnered with Penn State University.

Pocono Raceway President & CEO Brandon Igdalsky started a project last year with Penn State to make the raceway a “near zero waste" facility. Meaning that a majority of the waste produced during Pocono’s operating season will be diverted from landfills.

Already the first motorsports facility to operate on solar power thanks to its massive three megawatt solar farm, Pocono Raceway is now trying to eliminate waste.

“This is very important," said Igdalsky. “And we are making progress. With our new food and beverage provider, Spectra, new technologies and help from all our partners, we want to do everything we can in regards to sustainable energy, waste management and diversion. The track wants it and the fans want it. Working with the talented students and staff at Penn State has been a huge benefit."

Last year, students from Penn State began a partnership at Pocono Raceway. They surveyed fans, explored materials management, identified persistent patterns in fan behavior and learned about sustainability-related infrastructure.

The research showed that fans, especially at Pocono Raceway, were concerned about wastefulness and environmental responsibility. The study noted that fans are searching for better options for waste management.

The students from Penn State worked with businesses in the Poconos as well as NASCAR Green in search of solutions.

Among the immediate changes implemented were additional recycling containers. Working with Pocono Raceway partner Coca-Cola, the raceway is now blanketed with recycling bins.

Pocono Raceway, Penn State and new food and beverage provider Spectra will also focus on the goal of near-zero waste. Meetings with area resorts and the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau have begun exploring options to manage biomass with composting or anaerobic digestion as a possible solution.

Igdalsky, an industry leader in renewable energy, will hire Penn State students to find solutions in his quest for zero waste. A local, regional and national award winner for his work in sustainable energy, Igdalsky has spoken at the Beyond Sport Summit in South Africa and is a board member of the Green Sports Alliance, an organization that represents more than 300 sports team and venues.

Judd Michael, a professor at Penn State, has been leading the university’s efforts to help sports venues like Pocono Raceway save money while being “greener."

“I have been very impressed by Pocono Raceway’s commitment to being a leader in sustainable operations while providing a first-class experience for fans," he said. “We see this partnership as an excellent opportunity to educate the next generation of business and environmental leaders while also helping the raceway to achieve its goals. We appreciate the opportunity to work with Brandon and his team as they seek to reduce their environmental footprint while giving race fans what they want."

Penn State will take lessons learned while pursuing zero waste in its own sports venues, along with lessons from other Green Sports Alliance members, to help Pocono Raceway achieve its goals.

Pocono Raceway will host seven national motorsports events during the 2016 racing season, including a NASCAR XFINITY Series race for the inaugural time on June 4. The Axalta “We Paint Winners" 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) race is set for June 5, the Pennsylvania 400 NSCS race on July 31 and the ABC Supply 500 Verizon IndyCar Series race on August 21. The Pocono Mountains 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck race is scheduled for July 30 and two ARCA Series Presented by Menards races with General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 on June 3 and the ModSpace 150 on July 29 offered as well.

Tickets for all races are now on sale at www.poconoraceway.com or by calling 1-800-RACEWAY.

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