In a partnership between Olympic sponser Dow Chemical, Axion Recycling and charity Article 25, most of the 306 individual panels that cover a total area of approximately 20,000 square metres, will fulfil new purposes in the developing world. The remainder of the wrap fabric will be recycled and reused in the UK.

The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games & Paralympic Game’s (LOCOG) head of sustainability David Stubbs told edie that the approach to a sustainable wrap was just one example of the whole philosophy of London 2012.

“The approach we take to everything is that it is about what happens afterwards because this is a temporary Games – you blink and you’ve missed it.

“The approach we took to the wrap is no different from anything else at the stadium. Our principle, our plan, was always to reuse.”

Dow Chemical and its partners developed the material for the wrap in-line with LOCOG’s sustainable sourcing code and temporary material guidelines. The company claims its new ‘elastomer’ technology made it possible for the wrap to achieve a combination of durability, flexibility and fire performance.

The fabric will be turned into a shaded community area at the Bola Pra Frente Institute in Rio de Janeiro, the next Olympic host city which was set up to help underprivileged children through social programmes.

A similar sheltering solution will be used in Uganda at a vocational training and counselling centre for former child soldiers.

The transport of such a vast quantity of material might not be straightforward according to Mr Stubbs.

“A general challenge is a question of volume there’s quite a large number of these wrap panels and finding a viable solution to this and getting the operation to run smoothly might prove a logistical problem at times,” he said.

However, the effort will be worth it according to Article 25 director of projects and chief executive, Robin Cross: “These projects will build understanding about the importance of the use and reuse of materials in the global community.

“By using the stadium wrap to build essential community facilities in Uganda and Brazil we hope to deliver on this international promise and bring part of the London Olympics to some of the most marginalized youngsters in the developing world.”

Axion Recycling helped propel the sustainable scheme within the UK.

Axion director Keith Freegard said: “We have already demonstrated that the stadium wrap can be recycled back into new plastic raw material in our Manchester factory. We look forward to developing other sustainable options for reuse of the wrap textile into beneficial applications in the Greater London region.”

The wrap fabric reuse was just one example of innovation in finding sustainable solutions at the games, according to Mr Stubbs. He described how all the roof trusses in the Olympic park were made from re-used gas pipes.

“Someone had the idea that there were extensive stockpiles of old gas pipes up in the North of England. This solution saved time, money and carbon emissions.”

Conor McGlone

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