Attendees of the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris will witness the aquatic events while seated on chairs crafted from plastic sourced from recycling bins throughout the vicinity.
Remarkably, a substantial 80% of the required 100 metric tons of plastic for these seats was derived from a sole neighborhood. This very locality is also where a company named Le Pavé is transforming the plastic into fresh material through their processing efforts.
“It’s collected in Seine-Saint-Denis, shredded in Seine-Saint-Denis, processed in Seine-Saint-Denis, all for a swimming pool that’s still in the area,” Augustin Jaclin said to Euro News. He is the co-founder of Lemon Tri, the company whose job is to collect the recycling.
Extensive examinations have been conducted on the chairs, encompassing a range of assessments such as UV resistance, fire resistance, toxicity, and even mechanical durability evaluations to assess their ability to remain securely affixed to the floor even in the face of persistent attempts to forcibly detach them—possibly instigated by an inebriated and irate onlooker.
Marius Hamelot, one of the co-founders of Le Pavé, divulged that as the Olympics drew near, manufacturers encountered challenges in sourcing new plastic materials. Consequently, they pivoted towards utilizing waste streams as an alternative solution. Notably, a particularly abundant resource emerged from the recycling of soda bottle tops, with various companies collectively shredding 5 million of these tops. These shredded components were then employed in the fabrication of essential infrastructure, including seating arrangements for the upcoming games.
“It’s a huge communication tool,” Augustin added. “When we tell children to come and put your bottles in the bins, tomorrow they’ll be in the seats of the Olympic swimming pool, it raises awareness [of waste recycling].”
Paris and the broader region of France have taken on ambitious sustainability objectives for the upcoming games. Their aim is to significantly curtail downstream emissions by a noteworthy fifty percent in comparison to the emissions generated during the 2012 and 2016 editions of the games.
However, their sustainability strategy isn’t exclusively focused on carbon reduction; it extends to combating various forms of environmental deterioration. A standout endeavor involves a concerted effort to restore the ecological health of the Seine River, an iconic waterway that winds through the heart of Paris. Remarkably, this initiative is aimed at rendering the Seine swimmable once again after many decades, with the goal of hosting the triathlon competition in its rejuvenated waters.
Reports from earlier this year by the Global News Network (GNN) shed light on the state of the Seine in recent history. In the mid-2010s, the river was teetering on the brink of ecological collapse, facing severe degradation. Despite being celebrated in literature, music, and art, the Seine had lost its allure due to its unattractive green-brown hue—a telltale sign of the pollution and waste it had been subjected to.
However, noteworthy strides have been achieved. Water quality tests conducted in August and July of the previous year revealed a remarkably positive transformation. The water quality was assessed as “overwhelmingly good,” heralding a realization among the people of Paris. For the first time in the memory of most, if not all, Parisians, the prospect of swimming in their beloved river is once again viable.
This resurgence of the Seine’s health serves as a symbol of the comprehensive efforts undertaken by Paris and France as they pursue a multifaceted sustainability agenda for the games. Beyond the reduction of carbon emissions, the resurrection of the Seine reflects their commitment to rejuvenating and preserving their environment, fostering a legacy of environmental awareness and action for generations to come.
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