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2020 Olympic And Paralympic Medal Stands To Be Made Entirely Out Of Recycled Plastic

By Todd Kortemeier | June 18, 2019, 12:01 a.m. (ET)


The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, and while they are still 14 months away there’s a lot to learn on your quest to becoming the ultimate fan. Each Tuesday leading up to the Games, TeamUSA.org will present a nugget you should read about – from athletes to watch to storylines to follow to Japanese culture and landmarks – as part of “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday.” Follow along on social media with the hashtag #Tokyo2020Tuesday.


No athlete gets to the Olympic or Paralympic medal stand alone. And the ones that will take the podium at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will literally be supported by the contributions of Games fans throughout Japan.

In partnership with Procter & Gamble, the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee announced a first in Olympic and Paralympic history — medal stands manufactured entirely out of recycled materials. Providing the recycled plastic will be the citizens of Japan, who can drop off items like shampoo bottles at one of 2,000 locations around the country.

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The plastic from these locations will then be transferred to P&G, which will oversee the manufacture of the podiums. P&G will also repurpose plastic waste from the oceans to integrate as well. The goal is to collect 1.5 million pieces of plastic. At 75 grams of carbon dioxide saved per piece, that equates to enough energy saved to light a single-family home for 112 years. 

The podiums will be unveiled in June 2020 and be used for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Then once the Games are over, P&G plans to recycle the medal stands and reuse them for product packaging. 

The medal stands are just one among many sustainability efforts that abound throughout the Games. The medals themselves will also consist of recycled materials, mainly from small electronic devices that citizens donated. The collection of those materials stopped at the end of March, and the reveal of the medal design is expected this summer.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.


The women's 4 x 400 meter relay team stand on the podium at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 on Aug. 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.