Sustainability at the 2020 Tokyo Games

Are Tokyo Games the greenest-ever Olympics?

From cardboard beds to absent fans, here’s how Tokyo 2020 is meeting its goal of being a "beyond carbon neutrality" event.

Hydrogen has been used in a variety of different ways instead of fossil fuels.

It’s being used to power the athletes' village

as well as light the Olympic cauldron

and even the vehicles cars shuttling between venues.

No fans, snack stands, tour buses or hotel bookings may seem like no fun.

But to environmentalists, the pared down approach is exactly what's needed in a world confronting climate change.

Initially, the Tokyo Organizing Committee had estimated the mega-event would result in CO2 emissions of some 2.73 million tonnes.

For reference, that’s more than what the cities of Vancouver or Melbourne emitted in all of 2019.

But without the travelling crowds to feed, house and entertain, that carbon footprint will be cut by 12%.

That's according to a sustainability report published by the organizers in July.

Among the 43 venues for Olympics and Paralympics Games, 25 existed before the Games and 10 are temporary constructions,

preventing the white elephant stadiums left behind in other host cities.

This is one of them – the village plaza.

The 40,000 pieces of timber were donated by Japanese municipal governments.

After the Games they will be dismantled and returned for re-use in local facilities.

Inside the athlete's village, the competitors even sleep on cardboard beds.

This year’s Olympic medals are made from old mobile phones and other small appliances donated by the general public.

The initiative started back in 2017.

And even the victory ceremony podiums they stand on were 3D printed from plastic waste.


“We collected recycled plastic waste equivalent to about 400,000 laundry detergent bottles from members of the public, donated by members of the public, as well as collected ocean plastic waste to create about 98 podiums to be used during the Games' and victory ceremonies."

The Games will, however, rely on a carbon offset program to reach negative carbon output.

More than 200 Japanese businesses are estimated to donate carbon credits of around 4.38 tonnes to the Games from July 2018 to September 2020 which will tip the event into the black.

Organizers will publish final emissions figures after the Games.

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