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Nice and snug - but in cardboard

Caroline Zöller

Published on 17.12.2019

At the Olympic Games 2020 in Tokyo, athletes will be sleeping in beds made of cardboard – an underestimated material.

At first, this decision taken by the Japanese organising committee may sound a little strange because cardboard is rather an unusual material to use for a bed. However, the organizers have decided to go for this alternative in cooperation with the mattress specialist Airweave (link What persuaded them was the sustainability aspect because the beds can be completely recycled once the games have finished. That is not unimportant when you think of the size of an Olympic village. The organizers are reckoning with 18,000 cardboard beds for the Olympics and with another 8000 for the Paralympic Games.

The beds are constructed from high-strength light cardboard which folds out, like a folding box, to form a bed. Each bed has a load-bearing capacity of 200 kg. Once the Games are over, the bedsteads can be turned into new paper products.

To ensure that athletes also wake up fully refreshed, they lie on mattresses that have been specially developed to enhance their sleep. The degree of hardness can be adjusted individually and adapted to suit your personal sleeping preferences. The mattresses themselves are also recyclable. The responsible people in Tokyo are very proud of their project as it means that, for the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, it will be possible to recycle all the beds almost completely.

Cardboard beds are, however, nothing really new. The manufacturer Stange, for example, has placed its faith in this material for many years ( It has not just produced beds, but also chests of drawers, tables, shelves or stools for 30 years. There is a particularly high demand for its trade fair furniture. The benefits are obvious: the material is not only light and very sturdy, but is also easy to print, quickly assembled and recyclable once the fair is over – an environment-friendly alternative to conventional materials.

Image: Tokyo 2020