Japan has put a spotlight on sustainability at the 2020 Olympic Games, with athletes standing on podiums made of recycled plastics to receive medals crafted from recycled small electronics before sleeping on beds made of cardboard. Electric cars ferry competitors and media between venues, many of which are temporary constructions made of recycled wood that will be dismantled after the Games, preventing the white elephant stadiums left behind in other host cities.
The Tokyo organising committee has hung its hat on providing a “beyond carbon neutrality” event, a goal it will meet with the help of donated carbon offset credits from businesses in Tokyo and Saitama prefectures, the two Games locations, along with the lack of spectators. “What we have seen is now everybody is much more aware that everybody has a role to play in climate action,” said IOC sustainability development chief Marie Sallois.
The Tokyo event has some high-profile green credentials. The gold, silver and bronze medals were forged from recycled metal from old mobile phones and other small appliances donated by the general public in an initiative started back in 2017. The 3D-printed victory ceremony podiums were crafted from plastic waste. Some 500 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are used to transport competitors, officials and media, as well as light the Olympic cauldron. The athlete’s village, where competitors sleep on cardboard beds, will be turned into into apartment complex after the Games and continue to be partially powered by hydrogen fuel cells.