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Olympic Athletes Are Sleeping on Sustainable Cardboard Beds

Olympic athletes are taking sustainability to the next level at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with recyclable cardboard beds.

Written by
Briana Dodson

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympics just days away, athletes are doing everything they can to make sure they're prepared for competition day—training, eating well, drinking water, and... sleeping on cardboard?

Yes, you read that right. Japanese mattress company Airweave has created 18,000 beds and mattresses for athletes this summer. What's even cooler? They're totally sustainable. The headboard and bed frames are made from recycled cardboard, and the mattresses are made from polyethylene fibers that can be recycled an unlimited number of times.

These cardboard beds aren't one-size-fits-all, either. The mattresses come with optional pillow tops and four different firmness levels, meaning athletes get to customize what feels right for them. They can even get fitted for their mattress in the Olympic Village, or get fitted on the go by using an app that takes body measurements and photos.

So, what exactly inspired this new design? Sustainability is a huge part of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In fact, the guiding principle reads "Be better, together—for the planet and the people." Aside from the sustainable cardboard beds and mattresses, the sustainability plan also includes using renewable energy, working toward zero-waste, and utilizing rainwater.

Toyota's e-Palette vehicles are also taking their sustainability initiatives to the next level. The electric vehicles will be running a loop around the athlete villages to transport everyone around the area in an eco-friendly fashion. They're spacious and accessible, too: They can fit up to four people in wheelchairs and up to seven standing passengers, all at once.

Sustainability on a global scale? Yep, that definitely takes the gold.