|This year’s Tokyo Olympics event marks the first Olympics to go carbon neutral, with the event running entirely on renewable energy. Even though the Olympics has been accused of greenwashing (the event still results in of 2.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions – more than the entire city of Copenhagen emitted last year) there are still some fantastic examples of upcycling and circular design to be seen at the games. These circular innovations can also be recognized as a positive step for the Olympic Games considering the waste issues that afflicted Rio de Janeiro’s Games in 2016.
- Uniforms worn by torchbearers are made from recycled plastic bottles. Design director Daisuke Obana collaborated with Coca-Cola to create the unisex Olympic uniforms from plastic bottles that were collected by the soft drink brand. Furthermore, Nike’s designs for skateboarding, basketball and soccer uniforms are made from recycled polyester and nylon.
- The Olympic flame itself is also circular. The Nendo designed Olympic flame is powered by Hydrogen, while the Olympic torches, designed by Tokujin Yoshioka, are made from recycled construction material from temporary housing used in the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011.
- Among the newly constructed buildings, Kengo Kuma’s Japan National Stadium is built from timber in a bid to limit emissions, while the temporary structure of the Olympic Village Plaza by Tokyo studio Nikken Sekkei is built using 40,000 pieces of wood that were “borrowed” from local governments across Japan.
- The Olympic medals, created by Japanese designer Junichi Kawanishi are made from recycled tech products donated by the public. Furthermore, the Olympic podiums, shown in the video above, are 3D printed from donated plastic waste by designer Asao Tokolo.
- Finally, the (now infamous) Olympic bedding is completely circular. The 18,000 bedframes are modular, made from recycled cardboard and designed to be extremely light and easy to assemble. Furthermore, the mattresses comprise three polyethelene blocks that are arranged inside a zip-up case.