The London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) is defending its decision to outsource foodservice packaging from China.
Great emphasis has been placed on making 2012 the most sustainable games yet. LOCOG have already assured that almost three-quarters of packaging will be recycled or composted, aided by using 4000 colour coded bins in the park, and that nothing will go to landfill. The non-recyclable waste will be taken away and re-used into a form of electricity.
Corporate sustainability manager at LOCOG, Phil Cumming said, "The majority of packaging has been sourced from the UK and Europe. Some has come from China because there were no other options close to home."
Outsourced Chinese Packaging
Packaging standards are very specific, adhering to strict guidelines from LOCOG. Packs had to meet European compostability EN13432.
"There were very few UK packaging companies that could provide a fully certified product," Cumming added. "The UK packaging industry has a bit of a way to go on this front."
The ‘zero waste vision' published on London 2012's official website focused much more on the constitution of the packaging and its ability to be reused or recycled, rather than the emphasis in locally sourcing it. Packaging has been constituted from biodegradable plastics, uncoated paper and even sugar cane.
Olympics Food Packaging
Catia Bastioli is the managing director of Novamount. The bio plastics company from Italy provided resin for crockery and drinks packaging. He said that Novamount "believe[s] bioplastics have a part to play in providing the solution to some aspects of this matter, thanks to the fact that they can be sent for composting together with organic waste."
LOCOG have made sustainability the heart of the entire of the games' execution. 98% of material was recycled or reused from their demolition and excavating, and the temporary venues built will also have their structures reused.
An Active Travel Programme has been devised to encourage visitors to the stadium to arrive by public transport, bicycle or on foot. It is hoped that a million people will come by one of these methods.
LOCOG assert that they have put everything in place to achieve their sustainability targets, but "do not pretend to have all the answers or that [they] will get everything right."