Organisers at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics have come up with a novel idea on how to create the games medals, and educate people on sustainability at the same time. Should they be successful in three years’ time, the likes of Usain Bolt and Laura Kenny will be awarded with medals that are made out of recycled mobile phones.
With over 5,000 medals required for the games, the Japanese public have been asked to help by donating their old or unwanted phones to make the gold, silver and bronze medals. Eight tonnes of metal will be needed to make all of the medals and collection boxes will be placed in local offices and telecom stores all over Japan from April.
Former American decathlete who won gold in the event both in London and Rio has backed the initiative and said “The best part is that each citizen has a chance to contribute to the story, to raise awareness about a sustainable future and to make a unique contribution. And, most excitingly, they have a chance to be part of the Olympic journey.”
Olympic host cities tend to produce the medals by using metal from mining firms, but Tokyo have gone for a completely unique approach in order to promote sustainability and saving costs. The 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi said “There’s a limit on the resources of our earth, so recycling these things will make us think about the environment.”
The scheme which has been labelled e-waste recycling, is not a completely new idea countries such as China, India and Indonesia have been known to do this type of thing before. Phones and tablets contain metals such as Zinc, platinum and lithium which are all considered precious or rare earth metals.
The idea was first proposed to the Olympic committee last year and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver used medals made from old circuit boards. However, Tokyo 2020 will be the first games in history to use recycled metal in the entirety of their medals.
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