Green out of Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympic games is over but of course environmentalists have to check if there is a heavy carbon footprint left behind.

According to the David Suzuki Foundation, the recent Vancouver Olympic games garnered a Bronze medal for overall efforts to reduce the event’s climate impact. Achievements include building energy-efficient venues, using clean-energy sources, relying on public transit during the Games, and offsetting part of the Games’ emissions.

Of course, I’m more interested in sustainable materials that were used during the games. One big example is from major sponsor Coca-Cola. wrote some of Coca-Cola’s green efforts at the game such as its café furniture made from pine-beetle-salvaged wood; its Coke and Dasani water bottles made from 30% plant-based materials; and their beverages delivered via hybrid vehicles and electric cart.

Coca-Cola also aimed that 95% of their waste generated during the Games will be diverted from landfills. The company is said to be one of the first major marketers to embark on a zero-waste, carbon-neutral sponsorship of an event as complex as the Olympic Games. All Coca-Cola PET bottles recycled at the Games will be made into blankets and T-shirts to be distributed to people in need.

By the way, Dow Chemical Canada says it has help provide energy efficiency to the venue with its insulation materials and heat transfer fluids. The company supplied more than 2.5 million board feet of STYROFOAM brand insulation and more than 500,000 board feet of STYROFOAM HIGHLOAD insulation products for the green roof on the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Another interesting sustainability initiatives at the game is the Olympic and Paralympic medals that are said to contain recovered metal from electronic waste. Canadian mineral company Teck used its recycling process, which recover metal from end-oflife electronics (e-waste) such as TVs, computers and keyboards. The gold, silver and copper used in the medals was recovered from end-of-life electronics circuit boards collected and processed at Trail and the Umicore facilities in Belgium which was then combined with the metal from other sources for the medal production.

The content of recovered metal from the e-waste material in the specific metals is: Gold: 1.52%; Silver: 0.122%; Copper: 1.11%.

Finally, 3M Canada Company says the building and vehicle wrap graphics that they supplied to the Winter Olympic games are being reclaimed and recycled diverting approximately 200,000 square feet of material from Canadian landfill sites.

When the graphics (essentially large stickers) are removed from vehicles and key Vancouver 2010 venues such as the Richmond Olympic Oval and the Pacific Coliseum, they will be consolidated and then shipped to Mannington’s manufacturing facility.

The graphic materials will become a key ingredient in a mixture used to make high recycled content flooring.


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