Tokyo Olympics to use cardboard beds in Athletes Village

Organizers take sustainable approach at 2020 Summer Games

World-class athletes will be sleeping on cardboard at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, but officials say the unorthodox furniture is strong enough for the job.

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Bed frames in the Athletes Village are composed of lightweight, high-resistance cardboard. The Tokyo Organizing Committee opted for the cardboard bed frames because they comply with sustainability goals for the 2020 Olympics, which call for 99 percent of all goods used during the games to be reused or recycled.

The cardboard bed frames are capable of supporting about 440 pounds, according to Takashi Kitajima, general manager of the Athletes Village in Tokyo. The bed frames were developed by Japanese bedding company Airweave, a Tokyo Olympics sponsor.

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“They are stronger than wooden beds,” Kitajima told The Associated Press.

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While the bed frames are made of cardboard, the mattresses are made from polyethylene and are “specifically designed to improve sleeping quality and comfort,” according to a press release from the Tokyo organizers. The mattresses are divided into three sections that are adjustable to the athletes’ preferences.

The bed frames will be recycled and turned into paper products, while the mattresses will become plastic products. The 2020 Tokyo Games are the first Olympics in history to feature sustainable bedding.

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“The organizing committee was thinking about recyclable items, and the bed was one of the ideas,” Kitajima added.

The Athletes Village will feature 18,000 beds. The apartment units used to house Olympic athletes will be rented or sold after the games.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.