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Olympics going for gold with inventive ways to recycle

Environment > Olympics going for gold with inventive ways to recycle

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23 July 2021, 6:43 PM


Major sporting events around the globe are putting their best foot forward to be more sustainable, including the Olympic Games

Even though no spectators are allowed at the Games this year, due to the rising numbers of coronavirus infections in Japan, recycling has been a key part of the sustainability efforts of the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Last year, they collected enough plastic bottles to 3d print a recycled podium and are using recycled electronic devices, like laptops and phones, to create the gold, silver and bronze Olympic medalssay whaaat?! Plus, the Japanese team will be wearing a kit made entirely from recycled clothing! Stylish AND sustainable…

Tokyo is aiming to reuse or recycle 65% of the waste generated from the operations of the games, and with a total of 24.5 tonnes of used plastic and around 400,000 laundry detergent bottles donated by the public through their nationwide initiative, it is hoped this year’s Games will be as sustainable as possible. Talk about go big or go home!

In addition to 500 Toyota fuel-cell electric vehicles being used during the Games, hydrogen will be the fuel for the Olympic and Paralympic Cauldrons and Torches. The Tokyo Metropolitan Government will also use hydrogen energy in some Olympic and Paralympic Village facilities.

As one of the largest sporting events in the world, the Olympic Games has a big responsibility to showcase just what can be achieved when sustainability is prioritised.  

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working towards reducing single-use plastics from its events, pledging support for the UN Clean Seas campaign. This movement aims to increase global awareness of marine litter and find ways to solve this worldwide issue. The initiative has also been backed by bodies like World Sailing, World Rugby, the International Association of Athletics Federations and National Olympic Committees around the world, which will have a huge impact on the amount of plastic leaking into our oceans every year.

With everyone involved, we really can make a difference! But what can we do on an individual level? People like British sailor Hannah Mills are doing everything they can to bring about real change themselves. Hannah has launched an initiative to eradicate single-use plastic in sport, after being overwhelmed by the shocking amount of waste she saw at the Rio 2016 Olympics. With the support of the IOC, she has started the Big Plastic Pledge.

The pledge asks athletes to commit to a minimum of three pledges from a list that includes using only reusable bottles, cups, lunchboxes and utensils, and also metal straws.  

So, what can you pledge to do in your everyday life to make a difference? After all - we’re all in this together!

Next article: Mr. World Jack Heslewood wants to make a difference

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