Vancouver’s wibbly wobbly recycled olympic medals

Vancouver gold medal Vancouver’s wibbly wobbly recycled olympic medalsI just noticed that the medals for the recent Winter Olympics in Vancouver were made using recycled electronic waste recovered from circuit boards. Well actually they contained ‘token’ amounts of recycled e-waste (Gold medals contained 1.52% recycled e-waste, Silver medals 0.12% and Bronze medals 1.11%). Whilst this sounds like a pathetically small amount, it is, according to Scientific American, a result of a programme to recycle more than 140,000 tonnes of e-waste that would otherwise go to landfill. So I regard this is as a very beautifully designed step in the right direction. It got me wondering what eco-treats the London Olympics 2012 might have up its sleeve…

What with having to follow Beijing’s too good to be true (literally) opening ceremony and the recent financial-crisis, a certain amount of expectation management has already been exercised. Clever. Good job then that sustainability often goes hand in hand with saving money!

So, what’s on the 2012 eco-agenda? I checked out the London 2012 website where there is a wealth of encouraging information, about how sustainability has been planned into the games from the offset and how the Olympic’s Sustainability Plan is focuses on five key areas: Climate change, Waste, Biodiversity, Inclusion and Healthy living. Whilst much of it sounds fairly generic there are some definite and encouraging promises and an independent commission no less tasked with making sure those targets are met.

For example, London 2012 has made a 20% renewable energy commitment for which the current proposal is to use biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) system amongst other renewables. Wind power was considered but apparently dismissed due to what looks like reliability concerns (because they’ll only meet their target if its windy).

So whilst it might not have the whizz bang of the firework fuelled 2008 Beijing Olympics, London 2012 should have just as much to show-off about (although most of it looks like it will be ‘behind-the-scenes’). They’ll have to go some on the medal design however to beat Vancouver’s marvellous medallions.