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Tokyo 2020 medals to be made from recycled electronic waste

Tokyo 2020 medals to be made from recycled electronic waste
March 25, 2019

All the medals used at Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be manufactured from discarded consumer electronics including smartphones, digital cameras and other handheld games and laptops. The Tokyo 2020 Medal Project is being conducted by the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee).

The Organisinf Committee said they expect to collect enough obsolete electronic devices by the end of March to extract the amount of gold, silver and bronze that will be required to manufacture all the medals that will be awarded next year.

This project will be an exercise in citizen participation to manufacture medals with the help of people from across Japan. The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee stated that they are targeting a 100% recycling rate in the refining of gold, respecting the environment by using scrap metals in the manufacture of medals, and employing Japanese technological expertise. 

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee is actively working with project participants, NTT DOCOMO, the Japan Environmental Sanitation Center, the Ministry of the Environment and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, to realise a sustainable society and secure the Olympics and Paralympics legacy.

The Organising Committee said municipal authorities had already collected 47,488 tons of junked devices by November, roughly 19 months after the project was launched with targets of 30.3kg of gold, 4,100kg of silver and 2,700kg of bronze.

The goal for bronze was reached in June, while more than 90% of the gold and 85% of the silver has been collected, officials said.

The idea of using recycled metals in medals has been used in the past, having been implemented in previous Olympics, most recently at Rio 2016, where an estimated 30% of the silver and bronze medals were wrought from recycled materials. However, this project makes Tokyo 2020 a first in the history of the Olympics and Paralympics as organisers noted the current project will mark the first time citizens have been proactively involved with the donation of consumer electronics.

The designs for the Tokyo 2020 medals will be unveiled later this year.
 

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