Olympic medalists will stand on podiums made of recycled plastic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the International Olympic Committee said Thursday.
The IOC said it will work with a Japanese arm of the Procter and Gamble group to collect and reuse plastic to build the podiums.
P&G Japan K.K. is the world’s biggest producer of daily consumer goods and a sponsor of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.
The Everybody’s Podium Project aims to reduce the prevalence of single-use plastic and lessen the environmental impact of the Tokyo Games amid growing concerns over marine plastic waste pollution.
While podiums have traditionally been made using wood, the 2020 project involves collecting about 45 tons of plastic waste material to create 100 podiums. Plastic collected from the ocean by P&G will also be used for the project. Using aluminum sash window frames from temporary homes built in the disaster area of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake is being considered as well.
Collection will begin on June 19 at 2,000 stores of the Japan-based Aeon retail group across the country, which are operated under the brand names of Aeon, Aeon Style and MaxValu.
P&G plastic products including bottles and containers for laundry detergent, dish soap, hair products and deodorant will be accepted. Similar products from different companies will also be accepted, except for water bottles.
“Triathlons are held in places of nature,” Yukako Hata, a Paralympic triathlete, told reporters during Thursday’s news conference. “We swim in the ocean, rivers and lakes, and ride our bicycles and run on roads built on land. It’s a sport where athletes are competing in natural environments that need protection.”
The organizing committee launched a similar project in April in which 8 million tons of discarded smartphones will be collected and recycled to help manufacture 5,000 medals for the games.