Tokyo 2020 : Sustainable Initiatives

Did you know that Naomi Osaka and the team of torchbearers wore uniforms made from recycled Coca-Cola bottles during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics? The unisex T-shirts  and shorts sets were conceived by the Japanese designer Daisuke Obana.

The Tokyo 2020 Games sustainability concept is "Be better, together - For the planet and the people." The five sustainability themes for Tokyo 2020 Games are Climate Change; Resource Management; Natural Environment and Biodiversity; Human Rights; Labor and Fair Business Practices and Involvement; Cooperation and Communications. 

The Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee aims to make the Games sustainable by providing the best solutions to global environmental issues. This has been accomplished by using recycled materials in the games' most symbolic elements.


These are some of the sustainable features seen at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics:


Relay Torch - Earthquake Legacy Tribute

The rose gold cherry blossom Olympic torch was inspired by the national flower of Japan. The torch was fabricated from 30% recycled aluminum used in temporary housing units after Japan was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Recycled Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals

Approximately 6.2 million used cell phones and small electronic devices were repurposed to create 5,000 gold, silver, and bronze medals. Over the course of two years, the "Tokyo 2020 Medal Project" collected used electronic devices donated by Japanese citizens. The medals were produced by removing gold, silver and bronze elements from electronic devices.

3D Printed Recycled Plastic Podiums

For the first time in Olympic history, the victory ceremony podiums were constructed using 3D printing technology. The 3D printed podiums were manufactured using waste plastic collected from schools, organizations, and businesses across Japan. Plastic bottles, marine plastic waste, air fresheners, and hair product packaging were among the materials collected.

Sustainable Cardboard Beds

The Olympians will have a good night’s sleep on cardboard beds at the Olympic Village. The beds were manufactured by Japanese brand Airweave. According to the manufacturer, these beds can support up to 440 pounds. The 18,000 beds and mattresses used at games are fully recyclable after use.


According to a statement on the Tokyo 2020 website, “Our efforts to contribute to an environmentally-friendly and sustainable society will form part of the legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games.” The Tokyo 2020 organizers also intend to minimize carbon emissions during the event. The Tokyo 2020 Games will not exceed 2.7 million tons of CO2, just a third of the CO2 emissions at the Rio Olympics. Although the Olympic Games are not best known for being environmentally friendly, it is encouraging to see efforts being made.