Going for gold in green games
Published: 30 Jul 2012
As millions of spectators land in the UK over the next two weeks for the Olympics, the Olympic organisers, Locog, face a constant battle to keep the games sustainable, environmentally friendly and green.
Already the London games' green aspirations have been called into question because of the environmentally un-friendly nature of some of the sponsors. This argument, however, only serves to undermine the efforts that have gone into making the 30th Olympiad "green".
For example, Locog has employed 100,000 contractors to deal with waste, cleaning and catering. They are also working closely with the site's caterers, packaging suppliers and waste management providers to try and keep an eye on what comes into the park, and what leaves it.
In addition, they have placed 4,000 colour-coded recycling bins around the Olympic park which, when full, are taken to a recovery facility in Barking. All of the food and packaging used is recyclable or compostable; all part of the aim to make sure that zero waste goes to landfill from the games.
The organisers have also thought hard about other types of waste, ensuring that the Olympic Park's 362 toilet blocks are sustainable. In the Velodrome, for example, there are low-flow appliances and waterless urinals, and some venues have rainwater collection facilities. A new water treatment plant also helps to reduce the amount of water used.
CO2 emissions have also been targeted. Recycled materials were used in the building of the venues, reducing the amount of CO2 used in construction. Energy to the Olympic Park is being supplied from renewable sources, including biomass boilers and solar power.
As Locog's head of sustainability, David Stubbs, explained, keeping the games green has been no easy task, "You're dealing with 205 nations competing; that's more than there are United Nations members; you've got 10,500 athletes; double that number of media; a workforce of 200,000; 11m ticket spectators plus all the broadcast interests and sponsors, so it's a massive undertaking. On food alone, it's 14m meals."