Olympic stadium wrap to be sent to Rio, Uganda

Olympic Stadium CGI

The £7 million fabric 'wrap' surrounding the Olympic stadium in London will be repurposed for projects in the UK, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Uganda, say creators, Dow Chemical.

The Dow Chemical Company announced on Monday (13 August) that it would partner with Axion Recycling and development charity Article 25 to repurpose the fabric. In the UK, the material will be used for recycling and reuse projects, and in Uganda and Rio it will be used to help construct shelters for at-risk children.

The material, comprised of 306 individual panels (each approximately 25 metres high and 2.5 metres wide), was created to meet LOCOG's Sustainable Sourcing Code and Temporary Material Guidelines. Along with the steel cables used to suspend the fabric around the stadium, the material was made with future use options in mind.

“We were able to jump in and – within a year’s time – use Dow’s technology to develop this new material that completed the Olympic stadium and has clearly become the most prominent visual of the London 2012 Games”, said George Hamilton, Vice President of Dow Olympic Operations.

In Brazil, Dow and Article 25 are exploring a partnership with the Bola Pra Frente Institute to create a shaded community area in the neighbourhood of Santa Cruz. The Institute's aim is to provide social programmes, education, sports, arts and professional training to underprivileged youth in the area.

In Uganda, Dow and Article 25 will work with Jubilee action to create shelter at a vocational training and counseling centre for former Ugandan child soldiers.

"By using the stadium wrap to build essential community facilities in Uganda and Brazil we hope to deliver on [our] international promise and bring part of the London Olympics to some of the most marginalized youngsters in the developing world", said Robin Cross, Director of Projects and CEO of Article 25.

Dow is also working with Axion Recycling to find further ways of repurposing and recycling the material within the UK.

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

The announcement by Dow is among the first post-Olympic indications about the success of London in producing the 'greenest games ever'. Last Friday (10 August), the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 gave its initial reaction to whether or not London had reached its goal. The Commission cited excellent transport infrastructure, confirmed legacy use for six of the eight venues, and long-term prospects for East London as highlights of the games' green goals, but cited several missed opportunities, including a failure to show sustainability credentials on Olympic merchandise, a lack of connection between waste and energy infrastructure, and wasted energy.

Nevertheless, overall, London was awarded 'gold' by its harshest critic for its green efforts.

"In my opinion, London 2012 has secured itself a gold medal for sustainability", said Shaun McCarthy, Chair of the Commission. "Getting a gold means being better than everyone else. London has set a new bar for Olympic sustainability, and now the challenge is ensuring that this bar is raised again for subsequent Games."