LOCOG ~ Games changer for reuse, recycling and composting
Together, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and its contractors who have influenced and managed the operational wastes that arose from the games venues, have achieved a considerable rate of reuse, recycling and composting.
Sustainability was a key part of the London 2012 bid and LOCOG and the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) set ambitious sustainability targets. Sustainability targets included; measuring the carbon footprint over the entire project term, implementing a waste strategy to achieve zero Games-time waste to landfill, delivering a public transport Games, committing to a Food Vision to specify stringent sustainability requirements, and setting new standards – by contributing to the development of the international sustainable event management system standard, ISO 20121 – set to be part of a very influential global legacy.
Key results included:

 - 73% of spectators surveyed during the Games said that the waste stream logos on packaging made it clear in which bin to put their waste;
- during the Games period (July – October 2012) 100% of event operations waste was diverted from landfill; and
- a total of 10,173 tonnes of operational waste was recorded.

LOCOG’s commitment to deliver the first 'zero waste to landfill' Games was one of its flagship sustainability targets.  LOCOG also set itself a target to  ensure that at least 70 %, by weight, of operational waste was reused, recycled or composted.  Setting out its key achievements in its London 2012 Post-Games Sustainability Report, published on 12 December 2012, LOCOG revealed that by conventional measures 82 % of operational waste was reused, recycled or compostedThis figure was calculated in the same way that most businesses in the UK report on their waste performance: by measuring the proportion of different streams leaving their sites or venues.
However, LOCOG's experience from following up the fate of waste leaving venues suggests that reporting on this basis is misleading and does not clarify the true end fate of the waste.  Exclusive use of SITA UK’s MRF in Barking for 78 days from 1 July 2012 and a contractual requirement to track all waste to its end processes – which many businesses in the UK do not do - showed that the true reuse, recycling and composting rate was 62 % by weight.  (Ninety three precent of all waste collected from London 2012 venues was taken to this site.)  Composting of food waste and compostable packaging and non-packaging (such as cutlery) recycled 17 % of the 10,173 tonnes of operational waste.
The differences between ways of calculating performance are notable and it is encouraging that LOCOG and SITA UK carried out the waste tracking, recording and calculations necessary to determine the true reuse, recycling and composting rate. 
Jonathon Porritt, environmentalist and lead London 2012 sustainability ambassador, said: "This report represents a "first cut” on the final story, with a particular focus on those issues which were seen by stakeholders as being of particular importance. There is so much that will contribute to the legacy of the 2012 Games, and the sustainability story is right up there as one of the most important aspects”.

David Stubbs, LOCOG's Head of Sustainability, said: "This work could not have been achieved without the collaboration from so many of our stakeholders. We are strongly convinced that the embedding of sustainability on this scale can only be supported through constructive dialogue and a partnership approach.  We are proud of our achievements but this is just the beginning; we hope that tools such as the standard ISO 20121 and the published learnings from the London 2012 Games will present a significant step change in the way future events are managed.”

Source: Story adapted from Packaging News, 13th December 2012.

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