The winners of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be awarded medals made out of obsolete electronic devices.
Taking the environment into consideration, the 2020 Medal Project is manufacturing medals from recycled consumer electronics like used mobile phones.
We will target a 100 percent recycling rate in the refining of gold, respecting the environment by using scrap metals in the manufacture of medals, and employing Japanese technological expertise.
– Organising Committee
Collecting Electronic Items
Since April 2017, the organising committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been collecting e-waste from residents across Japan.
Till November 2018, a total of 1,594 municipal authorities (approximately 90% of municipal authorities in Japan) were participating in the project.
Over five million used mobile phones have been collected by the NTT DOCOMO shops across Japan while the municipality authorities collected 47,488 tons of discarded devices. This also includes digital cameras, laptops and handheld games.
The used electronics will be collected till 31 March, 2019.
The recycled metals have been used to create the medals for the Olympic Games before, but it is the first time in history that citizens have been involved in the collection of consumer electronics to manufacture them.
Classifying And Recycling
The electronic devices once collected would be classified and dismantled.
This will be done by contractors who are authorized by the government’s Act on Promotion of Recycling of Small Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment.
According to the official statement, after extracting the gold, silver and bronze elements by smelting contractors, the medals will be produced.
By June last year, the amount required of bronze (2,700 kg) had already been extracted.
28.4kg of gold and 3,500kg of silver had been secured in October 2018, which are 93.7% and 85.4% of the total target (30.3kg and 4,100kg) respectively.
Around 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals will be manufactured for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The designs for the Tokyo medals will be unveiled later this year.
Tokyo 2020 Olympics
The medal 2020 project reflects the organisers’ commitment to a sustainable delivery of the Games and their subsequent legacy, under the slogan “Be better, together – for the planet and the people.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will commence from 24 July 2020 and will conclude on 9 August 2020. The Paralympic Games will be held from 25 August 2020 till 6 September 2020.
A total of 33 Olympic Sports and 22 Paralympic Sports will be contested at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
(Note- All the photos are courtesy the official website of Tokyo 2020.)