London Pledges Low Impact, Zero Waste Olympics
July 31, 2012
By WeatherBug Sr. Meteorologist, James West
The 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London is not only about winning gold, silver and bronze, it is also about limiting its environmental impact.
The London Olympic organizers have included environmental, social and community impacts in all aspects of its planning. Here are a few of the highlights:
The organizers hope it will be the first zero waste games. All venues will have three different types of recycling bins. One will be orange for compostable packaging, one will be green for plastics and paper and one will be black for items that cannot be recycled. To make it easy for everyone to participate, every item sold in the venues will be color-coded, so the user can just throw it away into the proper receptacle.
Two interesting tidbits: most food packaging will be compostable. Items like candy wrappers and potato chip bags will be incinerated to generate electricity.
"No White Elephants:"
The organization touts that there will be "no white elephants," or venues that have no use after the games end August 12 and the subsequent Paralympic games conclude September 9. Competition will occur at three types of venues: existing venues like Wimbledon for tennis and Earls Court for volleyball; new permanent structures like the Olympic stadium, Aquatic center and Velodrome; and temporary sites like the Greenwich Park and other London landmarks. All permanent sites already have future plans and the Olympic village where athletes and officials will live during the competition will be turned into mixed income, affordable housing.
Carbon Footprint and Environmental Impact:
The London game organizers are keeping a watchful eye on the impact the Olympics will have on the environment and are measuring its full carbon footprint, looking for ways to avoid, reduce and substitute carbon emissions. One major way it is reducing carbon footprints is making the main Olympic park a no car zone. All spectators will need to use public transportation and active travel alternatives like walking and bicycling to get inside the main Olympic park. There will even be 7,000 secure parking spaces not for cars, but for bicycles. It expects 9-million spectators to use these lower carbon transportation methods to get to the venues.
Other features in the construction of the Olympic venues include rainwater collection for reuse in toilets and landscape; special windows and light collectors that bring natural light inside, reducing electricity usage; and reused construction material like steel and concrete from buildings on the site before construction began.
This is the first Olympics in which detailed planning on environmental impact have carried out. This is all part of the initiative to reduce waste and be eco-friendly to the environment.
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Story Image: Flowers bloom outside London`s Olympic Stadium the Tuesday before the start of the Olympics. (Patrick Semansky, AP)
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