The Eco-Friendly Reason Rio’s Olympic Medalists Didn’t Get Flowers

The Olympic Games are held every four years, and although the medals change, the award ceremonies are usually very similar.

Olympic medalists typically receive a bouquet in addition to their medal, but flowers werestrangely absent from the podium in Rio. Why? Turns out it was part of the Rio Olympic Committee’s efforts to make the massive event more eco-friendly.

Flowers are not very sustainable, said Christy Nicolay, the executive producer of the victory ceremonies, told the New York Times. We give it to an athlete, and very often they just throw it away.

Even those of us who aren’t Olympic athletes know this to be a painful reality of life. We get flowers for special occasions or perhaps simply cut them from our own gardens to bright up the house, but it seems they wither and die almost instantly.

Like any crop, growing flowers is a resource-intensive process. “Seventy percent of the cut flowers sold in the U.S. are imported from Latin America,” reported Diane MacEachern for Care2. “Though the hot climate is just what the flowers need, those constant high temperatures are also conducive to bugs and disease. Consequently, growers in Columbia, Ecuador and many other countries rely on pesticides that have long been banned in the U.S. to produce flowers worth selling in international markets.”

Related: Why Buying Local Flowers Is Just As Important As Buying Local Food

With all that in mind, Rio’s decision to nix the bouquets seems very noble…until you hear about what they gave athletes as a replacement souvenir.

Those who managed to finish in the top three of their events at this years Summer Games receivedsmall sculptures of the Rio 2016 logo,designed in three dimensions for the first time in history. It’s said that the figurines can double as a display stand for the medal. Sadly, the sculptures were made ofresin, polyresin and PVCnot exactly the most eco-friendly materials. It remains to be seen whether future Olympic host cities will follow this example.

While the athletes are far less likely to toss their sculpture in the trash, it’s worth noting that fresh flowers and plants were still used to decorate the podiumsI wonder, where did they end up?

Related: 5 Simple Ways To Recycle Your Fresh Cut Flowers

Image Credit: Thinkstock

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


The Eco-Friendly Reason Rio’s Olympic Medalists Didn’t Get Flowers

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