Otautahi – The Olympics have been a disputed covid imposition on Tokyo, but they will go down as the greenest-ever Olympic Games.
Athletes have slept on recyclable cardboard beds; the medals have been cast from recycled precious metals.
Organisers expect the event will end without emitting more than 2.93 million tonnes of CO2, compared to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games which were estimated to have emitted 4.5 million tonnes of CO2
The Olympic village beds are designed to withstand weights of up to 200kg and the 18,000 beds and mattresses will be fully recycled after use.
The organising committee which copped streams of protests leading up to the opening ceremony was committed to reduce the event’s carbon footprint.
A major source of emissions at any international event comes from flying in competitors and spectators.
The organisers devised an independently audited carbon offset programme designed to ensure the Games emit as little carbon as possible.
Electricity used at the Games has come from renewable sources such as solar, biomass and hydro. Energy efficiency measures include fitting only LED lights to all the event venues.
Tokyo 2020 is even using precious metals recovered from 6.2 million discarded mobile phones to cast its medals. The recycling effort yielded the 32kg of gold, 3500kg of silver and 2200kg of bronze needed to produce 5000 medals.
Podiums for the medal ceremonies were made from recycled plastic donated by the public and recovered from the oceans.
After the Games, they will be re-used for educational purposes or recycled to make bottles.
Zero emission Olympic transport has been used, including fuel-cell buses, autonomous battery shuttles and hydrogen-powered forklift trucks, to move athletes about.
The Olympic torch was made of aluminium waste from temporary housing that was built in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The uniforms worn by officials were derived from recycled bottles.
The Olympic village plaza was built with sustainably-sourced timber donated by local authorities across Japan which will be re-used as public benches or to build public buildings.
The village included seawater heat pumps, food waste-powered biogas and nationally sourced timber.
The 537 hectares village space will be morphed into a new green space after the games, while existing spaces will be closed off as nature reserves to protect biodiversity.