Plastic Innovations at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games

The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games kick off in just a week's time. The event follows on from this summer's Olympic Games, showcasing the talents of the world's top disabled athletes. Last month we looked at how plastic technology infiltrated the Olympic Games, so let's take a look at how plastic will feature in the Paralympics.

Carbon Fibre Polymer in the Basketball Wheelchairs

There are many factors to consider when designing the perfect wheelchair for use in basketball. The chairs must be light and manoeuvrable, but also strong enough to withstand the inevitable impacts. Currently, most chairs are made from welded titanium. Many players believe that carbon-fibre reinforced polymers (the material used in running blades) offer the best trade-off between strength and weight, but the technology is not yet widespread in wheelchairs. 

PVC in the Swimming Pools

When Ellie Simmonds takes to the water in Rio 2016, she will be focussing on repeating or bettering her double gold medal winning performance at London 2012 and we'll be cheering her on. The water she'll be swimming in is prevented from leaking away by a reinforced PVC membrane. 

Recycled Bottles in the Ribbons

All the focus is on the medals. Can our Paralympian athletes beat their record haul from London four years ago? Less focus is paid to the humble ribbon which hangs the medal around the athlete's neck. 50% of the plastic that makes up these ribbons has been recycled from used plastic bottles - a cheap and available resource put to good use.

We look forward to seeing Team GB's Paralympians compete in Rio and we are pleased to be part of an industry that contributes in so many unnoticed ways to this celebration of the superhuman. Examples of how plastic technology has transformed the world are everywhere. If you have a product or packaging idea that you think could be realised using plastic technology, then email us at or call us on +44 1692 501020 and talk to our development team.

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