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London's green Games: waste

Construction waste [10KB]

In London alone, 8 million tonnes of construction waste is generated each year, according to nationwide statistics collected by( DEFRA). This is sent to landfill, typically outside of London in the surrounding counties. Currently the amount of waste produced by construction, industry and households is greater than the space left in landfill. With landfill space running out, the ODA aims to 'recover and reuse or recycle' 90 per cent of the waste created through the ‘big build’ phase of the London Olympics project.

The London 2012 sustainability plan sets out its waste agenda as follows:

Getting ready

The aim is to reduce waste during the demolition, remediation and construction phases, as well as designing venues efficiently. At least 20 per cent (by value) of demolition materials used in permanent venues will be reused or recycled on-site or at other locations.

Games time

At Games-time, wherever waste will not be dumped but will be reused and recycled instead, by:

  • Using waste as energy sources.
  • Ensuring that the temporary facilities are designed and fitted out so they can be taken down and reused afterwards.
  • Using materials with high recycled content.
  • Operating a closed-loop event waste management system to ensure that waste materials are sent for reprocessing back into high grade products.
  • As a priority, leasing equipment – such as temporary seating – rather than making new.


Through the education campaigns running before and during the Games, people will be encoraged to reduce, reuse or recycle waste. The 2012 programme will aim to help change people’s habits for good, and inspire other major events in the future to be more sustainable.

The Games will act as a catalyst for the development of new waste processing facilities in east London which will provide a lasting facility by:

  • designing buildings to use less energy;
  • using lower carbon alternatives;
  • building a wind turbine; and
  • selecting materials that require less energy to produce them.
  • Half of the materials (by weight) that will needed to construct the venues at the Olympic Park will be transported by water or rail.

Getting started with the British Library's collections

Devuyst, Dimitri (eds.) How green is the city? : sustainability assessment and the management of urban environments
Columbia University Press, c2001.
Shelfmark YC.2001.b.1563

Greater London Authority Rethinking rubbish in London: the Mayor’s Municipal Waste Management Strategy.
Greater London Authority, 2003.
Shelfmark m03/37083 DSC

Newman, Peter and Isabella Jennings. Cities as sustainable ecosystems : principles and practices
Island Press, c2008.
Shelfmark m08/.15984 DSC

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