Best sustainability practices from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics

This year, in the wake of the huge crisis of climate change, flooding in Germany, China, forest fires in America and high recorded temperatures in Canada, all are evidence of climate change. Regarding this, some countries have made a huge step by producing green energy, while some are still trying to find solutions for this. No matter what solution it will be, for us, sustainability is the answer. Meantime, Japan has made a detailed plan to practice sustainability for the Olympics during the one-year extension of the Olympic Games 2021.

Actually, the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee has already announced a sustainable management structure in 2016, with a core goal of “Towards Zero Carbon” and a goal of 100% renewable energy use in the main facilities of Olympics.”

  1. 100% renewable energy use

The main stadium “National Arena”, which was designed by the famous Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, is equipped with a transparent (see-through) high-efficiency thin-film solar panel on the roof. Because of the light transmission, it is conducive to the growth of the lawn also preventing the fire. Seven other major venues also use solar panels, four of which use renewable energy equipment such as solar thermal power facilities. There are also three venues using geothermal heat utilization equipment to improve energy conservation, according to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy.

Credit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Credit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

2. Sportswear uses recycled plastic and plant fibers

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that the fashion industry is one of the world’s leading sources of pollution after oil, and the industry is facing tremendous pressure to improve sustainability. So ASICS, a well-known sports brand in Japan, has launched a new plan to collect second-hand sportswear from the public and active athletes, turning them into official uniforms for Japanese athletes in the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Credit to ASICS
Credit to TOKYO 2020

3. The most environmental-friendly torch

The torch of the Tokyo Olympics is made of “recycled aluminum” materials, of which 30% of the material comes from waste materials left over after the construction of temporary houses for the victims after the 311 earthquake in Japan, symbolizing the spirit of “igniting the fire of reconstruction.” Plus, the hydrogen was used as the fuel for the flame, which does not produce carbon dioxide after burned.

Credit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

4. Beds made with recycled materials

18,000 single beds and another 8,000 beds, all provided by Japanese mattress company Airweave and are made of high-strength cardboard and recyclable polyethylene materials. This bed has three parts, which are used to support the upper, middle and lower positions, and each part can be customized to suit the body size of each athlete. In addition, since all bed frames are made of high-strength cardboard, the cardboard bed can withstand a weight of 200 kg. After the competition, all beds and mattresses will be recycled and reused to make other paper products and plastic products, thereby reducing waste.

Credit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

5. Medals made from recycled electronic waste

The Olympic medals are made from discarded electronic products donated by millions of Japanese people. This project started in April 2017, and the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee Exhibition hopes to collect discarded electronic devices from all over Japan to make Olympic medals. They began to set up yellow recycling bins near 7,000 post offices, large shopping malls and landmark buildings in Japan to let people to donate their devices. The recycling operation lasted for nearly a year, in the end, they collected 78,985 tons of waste electronic devices and extracted about 32 kilograms of gold, 4,100 kilograms of silver and 2,700 kilograms of copper, which is enough to meet the materials required for 5,000 Olympic medals. The difference is that this time the Tokyo Olympics is committed to using 100% recycled materials for each medal compared it to other Olympic events.

Credit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics
Credit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

6. Recyclable wood for the Olympic Village

The Tokyo Olympic Village Plaza is located in Harumi, and the design follows environmental principles and is made of 40,000 recyclable woods. The entire Village Plaza will be demolished after the end of the Eastern Olympics, and all the wood will be reused for the construction of native Japanese buildings to achieve the effect of recycling.

Credit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

7. Recycled plastic waste for the podium

The podium platform is made of plastic waste for the first time in history. From June 2019 to March 2020, the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee cooperated with major supermarkets, schools and other institutions to carry out plastic recycling. After that, about 24.5 tons of plastic were collected, which was used as the 98 award stands for this Olympics use.

Credit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

8. Automatic electric shuttle bus

The electric vehicle called APM (Accessible People Mover) has three rows of seats and can accommodate up to 5 passengers. Each car is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which can travel 100 kilometers on a single charge and can reach a maximum speed of 19 kilometers per hour. During the Olympics, there will be 200 APMs shuttled between the Olympic venues and the athletes’ village. This APM is mainly designed for people with limited mobility. In addition to the space for wheelchairs, it also has a built-in ramp for easy up and down.

Credit to Toyota

9. Recycle more than 65% of garbage

There are five types of trash cans in the Olympic venue, including 1. Food waste + tableware, 2. Residual beverages, 3. PET bottles, 4. Paper cups and paper containers, 5. Plastics, etc. They are clearly distinguished, so that more than 65% of the garbage can be identified and recycled.

Credit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The effort of practicing sustainability is more than what we have listed above for this Olympics games, and Japan has shown leadership in solving global issues and creating a sustainable society through sport by driving sustainability awareness and action across society and presenting such actions as models for a way forward. Globally, we should all seek action to transform the socio-economic activities of the past in pursuit of common goals, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and together change the world and our future.

Credit to Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Sustainability Pre-Games Report download:

Tokyo 2020 sustainability project download:

This article was edited by the original author, without their consent should not be reproduced.

By Social Innovation Insight

We are the bridge of change!

One reply on “Best sustainability practices from the 2021 Tokyo Olympics”

Good post. I learn something new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon every day. It’s always interesting to read articles from other writers and practice a little something from other sites.


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