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Tokyo Olympics going for gold on sustainability & ingenuity

Tokyo entered the spotlight on Friday as the much-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony got underway. Whilst thwarted with the setback of a global pandemic and postponed by a year, and going ahead without spectators, these Games will have a heart and soul like no other.

Tokyo entered the spotlight on Friday as the much-awaited Tokyo 2020 Olympic & Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony got underway. Whilst thwarted with the setback of a global pandemic and postponed by a year, and going ahead without spectators, these Games will have a heart and soul like no other.

Have you been watching the Olympic Games?

Well, behind the scenes, culture and tradition have influence advanced technological solutions and the contributions of an entire community coming together to make this Games truly special.

Tokyo is hosting an event showcasing model solutions for global sustainability challenges that will have long-lasting positive impacts for the city and the rest of the world.

Under the theming ‘Better Together- For the Planet and the People’ Tokyo 2020 games has addressed sustainability at every level.

From the Olympic venues to the Olympic medals themselves there is so much more to these games than meets the eye. 

Let’s take a look at what’s going on:

Hydrogen Olympic Flame

Tokyo Olympics

The Hydrogen fuelled Olympic flame arrived in Tokyo on 9July and commenced a 2-week tour of the Tokyo prefecture passing through 62 municipalities and the 23 wards of central Tokyo, making its way to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government office ahead of the Opening Ceremony on 23 July.

To highlight the use of hydrogen at the games, promoting a vision for a ‘carbon-free future’, hydrogen is also used as the fuel for the Olympic flame, demonstrating the commitment to a renewable-powered future.

Olympic Village- a template for future cities

Designed to home thousands of athletes from around the world during the competition, the Olympic Village located in Harumi, Tokyo consists of 21 residential towers which will be sold off after the Olympics and a Village Plaza which is the central hub of the Village for athletes with a general store, café and media centre.

The Village Plaza was constructed using timber from sustainable sources donated by 63 participating municipalities across Japan.

The entire Olympic Village is designed as a city of the future and hydrogen is used to provide the electricity for the dormitories and power fuel cell buses to transport athletes to venues and around the city. 

Olympic Venues 3Rs

Many years of careful planning have delivered some extraordinary venues for the games.

The 3Rs concept reduce, reuse, recycle are the keywords at Tokyo 2020 venues.

The 43 venues come in all shapes and sizes, 25 that previously existed being repurposed and upgraded, 10 temporary structures and 8 venues built from scratch using recycled and sustainable building materials. 

Olympic Podium of recycled plastic

Japan Olympics

The winning athletes will be awarded medals on podiums designed by Japanese artist made from 24.5 tons of recycled household plastics.

The Japanese public donated around 400,000 empty bottles of laundry liquid, collected from 2,000 deposit boxes installed in department stores and schools across Japan.

The bottles were converted to filaments and used to 3D print all 98 podiums that will be used during the Games.

The Olympic rings on the front of the podium are made from recycled aluminium. 

Olympic Medals from recycled household electronics

As part of a wider future sustainability initiative, Japan’s citizens donated old electronic devices so they could be turned into the Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals.

More than 32kg of gold, 3,500kg of silver and 2,200kg of bronze were collected for the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project. In a two-year period, they managed to collect 79,000 tons of small electronic devices which yielded enough precious metals to manufacture the required 5,000 gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals.

The waste included around 6 million mobile phones from 1,621 municipalities throughout Japan. 

Tokyo 2020 Medal Project further involved the nation by launching a medal design competition, inviting the public to submit design ideas for the medals. From the procurement of the metals from waste to the development of the final medal design, the entire community has been involved.

How inspiring is that? Talk about #TraveltoChangetheWorld.

Do you think these sustainable approaches should be integrated into every large sporting event moving forward? Let us know – email [email protected].

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