P&G and Tokyo 2020 create first-ever medal podiums made entirely of recycled plastic for upcoming Olympic Games

Podiums for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 medal award ceremonies to be manufactured using recycled plastic contributed by the public and recovered from the oceans in an initiative bringing together Worldwide Olympic Partner Procter & Gamble (P&G) and the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.

The new sustainability project kicks off in Tokyo on 13 June, hot on the heels of Worldwide Environment Day 2019 and the one-year anniversary of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) joining UN Environment’s #CleanSeas, an initiative also supported by P&G.

Collection boxes for used plastics will be available in over 2,000 outlets of AEON, the Japanese retail chain, from 13 June onwards, and will be forwarded to P&G, the partner of Tokyo 2020 on the Podium Project. P&G will also collect and donate plastic waste recovered from the oceans.

The podiums are set to be unveiled in June 2020. After the Games, the plastic will be recycled back into packaging for P&G products. It will also be used for educational purposes to promote the Olympic Movement’s role in the area of sustainability.

“Sustainability is at the heart of this effort, and P&G is proud to work with Tokyo 2020 and the IOC to demonstrate how consumers can participate in reducing plastic waste,” said Marc Pritchard, P&G Chief Brand Officer. “The Tokyo 2020 Podium Project is an example of how the Olympics can be a catalyst to inspire actions that have a positive impact on the environment and society.”

The Podium Project is a key element of P&G’s commitment to raising awareness of the global issue of plastic waste. As one of three Worldwide Olympic Partners involved in the IOC’s Clean Seas programme, P&G uses recycled beach plastic for its Head & Shoulders and Herbal Essences shampoo bottles. This project helps achieve mutual sustainability goals, expanding the partnership between P&G and the IOC to help benefit the entire Olympic Movement.

“The Tokyo 2020 Podium project is an excellent example of how the Olympic Games can inspire sustainable change in the host city and country,” said Marie Sallois, IOC Director for Sustainability. “We are very excited to see this project take shape, adding to our global efforts to tackle plastic waste. The IOC will continue to work closely with the Tokyo Organising Committee to ensure that sustainability is an integral part of the Olympic Games 2020 and the legacy that they create.”

As part of its commitment to sustainability – one of the three pillars of Olympic Agenda 2020 – the IOC is working to ensure that sustainability principles are embedded across all its operations – as an organisation, as the owner of the Olympic Games and as the leader of the Olympic Movement.

The elimination of 80,000 single-use plastic water bottles per year from the IOC offices has been one of the day-to-day sustainability actions taken by the organisation. Another example is Olympic House, the new IOC headquarters due to be inaugurated on 23 June, which is on track to receiving the highest Swiss and international sustainability certifications.

Recycling discarded plastic and marine plastic waste is the latest project in Tokyo 2020’s sustainability programme. Bronze, silver and gold medals are being made from discarded electronic appliances as part of the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project. Another project - Operation BATON - involves the construction of the Village Plaza at the Olympic Village using donated local timber.

Highlights of the Podium Project include:

  • The overall goal is to collect 1.5 million pieces of plastic packaging consisting of polyethylene and polypropylene plastic from consumers to produce recycled plastic resin.
  • Through this, 75 grams of carbon dioxide will be saved for each piece of plastic recycled.
  • Once the goal of 1.5 million pieces is reached, Tokyo 2020 and P&G will have saved enough energy to light a normal household for 112 years.
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