Sun, Sport and Sustainability

Summer is here, and with the heat and sun comes sport, lots of it. The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have officially begun. Hosted in Japan this year, the country is well known for its innovative and creatively ingenious ways of working with technology, but what about sustainability?

It would seem that they have taken a new and interesting approach towards sustainability at the 2020 Olympics with paper-based materials. Many of the Olympic teams have been documenting their surprised reactions as they climbed into their beds on their first night in the Olympic village, as they discovered something a little unusual about where they were going to sleep.

A company called Airweave has created cardboard beds and modular mattresses for the 2020 Olympic athletes to sleep on. These are made from fully recycled card and have customizable mattresses made by the same company.

What makes these beds so special? Not only are the beds adjustable to suit each athlete accordingly, but they are also sustainable and easily recyclable. The frames of the bed are constructed of recycled cardboard, whilst the mattresses are made up of polyethylene fibres that the brand says are suitable for recycling an unlimited amount of times.

Airweave has created over 18,000 beds and mattresses for the athletes, of which 8,000 of them will be repurposed for use by the Paralympic athletes.

But it’s not just the furniture that is sustainable. This is just one part of their sustainability plan!

Tokyo’s Sustainability Plan

Tokyo 2020 has set the sustainability concept of their games to ‘be better together – for the planet and the people. They have also stated in their 2020 Sustainable Sourcing Code, that they will promote energy saving and the use of renewable energy as much as possible towards ‘Zero Carbon’.

Sustainable Sourcing Code

A lot of thought has been put into the use of the resources for the games, as well as where everything is coming from. For instance, they are:

  • Using either low carbon or carbon-free energy.
  • Actively reducing their greenhouse gas emissions. As an example, they are going to be using only natural refrigerant-based freezers and refrigerators.
  • Actively promoting the 3 R’s (Reduce, reuse, recycle). For example, all suppliers should ensure that products will be either reusable and or recyclable after the games are finished.
  • Ensuring that when they are collecting raw materials that they are being considerate towards conservation. So if suppliers use resources that come from forests, oceans etc. they will not be using resources that have been illegally collected or cultivated.
  • Conserving biodiversity: Their suppliers will not be using raw materials for products that come from endangered animal and plant species. This reduces significant burdens on biodiversity and ecosystems.

Olympic Paper Use

Not only are they going carbon zero, but they have also considered their sourcing of paper and how to make it sustainable. Items such as posters, handouts, and pamphlets are being made using wastepaper pulp which will be collected from sustainable resources, ensuring ecosystems are conserved and protected. The types of paper used will be FSC and PEFC certified. This is not only an attempt at being sustainable but also to reduce the risk of wood from illegal logging being distributed in Japan.

Tokyo’s Timber Use

Another area of the sustainable sourcing code to mention, is how they source their timber. This is also important as a lot of wood is used during the games for various purposes such as furniture and equipment.

They have ensured that all timber used in the Olympics has come from forests that are maintained and managed based on mid-to-long-term plans. It won’t come from the conversion of forest to non-forest areas such as farmland but is harvested through logging activity that is considerate toward the conservation of the ecosystem.

So when you are sitting in front of the TV this summer watching the athletes competing for gold, you can enjoy it more knowing that everything you are watching is a sustainable and eco-friendly source of entertainment.

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