Sustainability Environment

2020 Olympic Athletes will sleep on eco-friendly cardboard beds

tokyo 2020 olympics sustainable cardboard beds initiative environment eco friendly conscious 440 pounds lbs
BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP via Getty Images

Story at a glance

  • The Tokyo 2020 Olympic committee developed eco-conscious beds for the athletes that will be recycled once the games end.
  • This is part of a larger sustainability initiative in Japan called “Be better, together.”
  • The cardboard will be sturdy and able to support up to 440 pounds.

As Tokyo, the gleaming capital of Japan, gets ready to host the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, sustainability is part of the agenda. 

The athletes competing in the prestigious event will reportedly be sleeping on eco-friendly beds with frames made of recyclable cardboard. The mattresses will also be made of recyclable products, namely polyethylene materials that will be reused for plastic products once the Games have concluded.

The beds were presented for a media viewing on Thursday, Jan. 9 in a mock apartment for scale. 

There will be an estimated 18,000 beds in the Athletes Village, which will itself be in Tokyo Bay during the Games, which are set to begin on July 24. A smaller 8,000 quantity will be needed for the Paralympics. 

According to the Tokyo 2020 website, this summer’s Olympics will be organized on five pillars that make up the Games’ sustainability concept titled “Be better, together.” Those pillars include keeping important environmental concepts in mind, such as zero carbon emissions, zero waste, urban forestry, inclusion and human rights, and civic engagement. 

In partnership with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan, the Tokyo 2020 Games committee will work todeliver sustainable Games and showcase solution models of global sustainability challenges to people in Japan and around the world.”

This isn’t to say that the beds will be uncomfortable. Speaking to the media, Takashi Kitajima, the general manager of the Athletes Village, said that the beds can support up to 200 kilograms, or about 440 pounds, adding that they are stronger than wooden beds. 

Kitajima credited the local Japanese company and Olympic sponsor Airweave Inc. for creating the beds, but noted that “The organizing committee was thinking about recyclable items, and the bed was one of the ideas.”