Greg Biffle embodies NASCAR Green initiative
April 16, 2014, Holly Cain, NASCAR.com
Having grown up in southern Washington state in the small town of Vancouver -- located on the Columbia River, alongside the Washington/Oregon border -- Biffle is well aware of the rustic, uber-environmentally conscious stereotype assigned to America's Northwest. And that's fine with him.
"Yes, it tends to be the greener part of the country," Biffle said with a smile. "I wouldn't necessarily say I'm a 'tree hugger,' as the stereotype goes, but I love the outdoors. I grew up racing and going around in circles but, I recycle and do all the things I can do because I love our natural resources and try to do all the things I can for our environment."
As NASCAR celebrates its Race to Green initiatives this month, it's clear to Biffle this race should be a sustained enduro instead of a sprint to the finish. And like the sport, which is a leader in the industry in terms of recycling and renewable resources, Biffle is conscious of how he can live a greener lifestyle.
For his family, that means buying products made of recyclable material, conserving energy and encouraging others to consider simple steps that will help everyone.
"I recycle at home and am pretty proud of it because I live in an area that doesn't have free recycling so I actually pay a monthly fee, like a garbage fee to recycle, because I think it's important," said Biffle, driver of the No. 16 3M Ford. "I do make a conscious choice on which vehicle to drive based on what I need to do and considering the fuel mileage. I pay attention to fuel consumption. I'm mindful of it all the time. It goes into decision-making.
"I care about the environment because it's important and feel like everyone should do their part. It's not hard. You walk by garbage cans and the recycle one is right next to the other, but you see the recycled plastic bottles in the wrong one. How much effort does it take? It's just a tiny bit of respect for our planet and environment. It's not that hard."
Biffle has been impressed with the effort NASCAR has made in the green realm -- setting an example not only for the sport's millions of fans but for society in general. The company has plug-in stations for electric-powered vehicles at its offices in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., holds tree planting ceremonies across the country and boasts the largest recycling program in all of sports.
Its ethanol-infused Sunoco Green E15 fuel has surpassed five million miles of racing. Pocono Raceway has a 25-acre solar panel farm that will produce enough energy over the next 20 years to completely power the venue*, and also an additional 1,000 homes, according to the track.
The effort put in by the sport -- which has its own "Green" platform headed by Dr. Mike Lynch -- is having a tangible effect on the fans. Research shows NASCAR fans are now 100 percent more likely than non-fans to consider their households "very green."
"I remember at race tracks where guys were spilling oil on the ground a long, long time ago," Biffle said. "This sport has come so far. We're actually way better about how we handle our oils and greases than maybe a guy working on his car at home, putting pollution in a storm drain or the garbage because he doesn't have the resources we do to recycle.
"Look at these garage floors, they are spick-and-span clean. You could almost compare it to a medical facility when it comes to handling our liquids. On the surface, it looks like it's a lot of work, but it's not that hard to make a big difference and I'm glad I'm part of it."