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    A gold 🏅 for sustainability: Tokyo Olympics

    There’s a new sport at the Olympics this year. A race. A race against climate change. One that Tokyo Olympics seems to be winning. Tokyo Olympics is one of the greenest Summer Games ever with renewable energy sources and recyclable materials used heavily all across. The country championed the use of novel materials, and used innovative ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the event in hope that it also inspires the games in the future.

    Here are a few things that we believe, won them a gold in sustainability.

    Medals from recycled metals

    Every single medal awarded this year has been created by recycling electronic devices. About 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals were extracted from 78,985 tons of small electronic devices donated to local authorities and 6.21 million mobile phones were collected by NTT Docomo shops.

    Earlier Olympics have attempted this feat partially but Tokyo is the first Olympics to achieve this for absolutely 100% of the medals.

    Image credits: Olympics official website

    Podiums from recycled plastic

    For the first time ever, the podium has been created using recycled household and marine plastic. In 2019, the city held a drive asking people to donate plastic that could be part of the Olympics, and many outlets for collection were set up.

    The chequered ‘ichimatsu moyo’ pattern is arranged three-dimensionally symbolising today’s Japan through the transformation of the traditional Japanese design into a modern geometrical style.

    Image credits: Olympics official website

    Renewable energy at every venue

    The electricity at every single venue is sourced from renewable sources like solar power generation systems, solar heat utilisation systems and geothermal heating/cooling systems. This includes Athletes’ Village, Olympic Stadium, Ariake Arena, Tokyo Aquatics Centre and more.

    Making travel greener

    Olympics in any city includes a fair share of road travel to facilities and stadiums. Tokyo has been working towards active use of fuel cell and plug-in Hybrid vehicles which reduce CO2 emissions. They believe that the use of these low-pollution, fuel-efficient vehicles will ensure that the average CO2 emissions intensity (g- CO2/km) of vehicles used in the game is at a low level.

    Being the torchbearer of recycling

    The Olympic torchbearer uniforms are partly made from recycled plastic bottles collected by Olympic partner Coca-Cola. Not just this, 30% of the Olympic torch itself is made from recycled aluminium and is powered by hydrogen for the first time in history.

    Image credits: Engineering and Technology (IET)

    Sustainability at venues

    One of the most appreciated initiatives has been the design and construction of the venues. Venues are designed to make effective use of water resources using rainwater and recycled water. Oi Hockey Stadium is one of the venues that uses recycled water. The turf at the stadium is made from regrowable raw materials including sugar cane. This design uses two-thirds less water that previous Olympics.

    Other venues too, use materials like crushed stone, concrete manufacturers using recycled aggregate, recycled steel, and secondary concrete products.

    Image credits: Olympics official website

    Tokyo Olympics sure had a lot going on their plate with pandemic and health requirements. But in spite of that they didn’t let sustainability take a back seat. The Olympics are proof that sustainability isn’t about giving things up, or making compromises, but about finding the room to do good in whatever we do. 

     

     

     

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