• Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022
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Tokyo Olympic 2020: Medals made from recycled smartphones, laptops

  • Published at 09:16 pm August 2nd, 2021
Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games-Medals
File photo of the medals for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games Reuters

All the medals awarded in the Games are made from recycled metals, a first in the history of the games

The winning athletes of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games, which began on July 23, are being awarded with medals made entirely out of recycled e-waste.

The medals – gold, silver, and bronze – have been produced with metals extracted from recycled electronic devices, including discarded smartphones and laptops.

The Tokyo Organizing Committee announced this initiative, titled “Tokyo 2020 Metal Project,” in February 2017.

Officials then urged Japanese citizens to donate their old phones, cameras, laptops, and other digital devices that were of no more use, in drop-off boxes in post offices and on street corners all across the country. 

They also partnered with 2,400 electronic stores in order to collect as many electronics as possible. 

At least 78,985 tons of e-waste along with 6.21 million used mobile phones were reduced to about 32kg of gold, 3,500kg of silver, and 2,200kg of bronze to make around 5,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals.

In the two years between April 2017 and March 2019, 100% of the metals required to manufacture the gold, silver, and bronze medals were extracted from small electronic devices contributed by people from all over Japan, according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) website. 

Using 100% recycled metals to make the medals is a first in the history of the Olympic Games, the website says.

Highly-trained contractors extracted the precious metals from electronic devices and turned them into medals.

It was the Vancouver Winter Olympics 2010 where medals made from recycled electronics were first used.

Each of the medals in that games contained about 1% of recycled material, reported Tomorrow's World Today in a recent article.

Then the Rio Summer Olympic Games 2016 carried forward the green initiative and made 30% of its silver and bronze medals from recycled materials.