Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medals Made from 80,000 Tons of Recycled Mobile Phones, Electronics

ASIA--PACIFIC, ENVIRONMENT, SPORTS, 5 Aug 2019

Jay Cannon - USA Today

25 Jul 2019 – With the opening ceremony for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo exactly one year from Wednesday [24 Jul], the medals are one thing organizers won’t need to worry about finishing in time.

The Tokyo 2020 Medal Project sparked the collection of nearly 80,000 tons of mobile phones and small electronic devices around Japan, which will be used in the crafting of every gold, silver and bronze Olympic and Paralympic medal awarded to athletes at next year’s games. There expect to be roughly 5,000 medals given out between the two games, according to Tokyo 2020.

Among the massive haul of electronics was over 6 million mobile phones, the project’s website reported.

As a result of the two-year donation drive, Tokyo 2020 announced that 100% of the metals used to make the shiny awards will be extracted from materials found in donated electronics and phones.

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The nearly 158 million pounds of donated electronics was reduced down to approximately 71 pounds of gold, 7,700 pounds of silver, and 4,850 pounds of bronze.

Following a process of dismantling, extracting and refining, the metals will be fused into the brainchild of Olympic medal designer Junichi Kawanishi, who was granted the design opportunity after winning a competition held by Tokyo 2020 that drew over 400 entries.

The design of the medals was released by Tokyo 2020 on Wednesday.

Olympic medalists unveil the Tokyo Olympics medals (L-R; Silver, Gold and Bronze) during the One Year to Go Ceremony at Tokyo Forum in Tokyo, Japan, 24 July 2019.
KIMIMASA MAYAMA, EPA-EFE

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Project organizers hope the nationwide electronics drive will help establish a theme of resourcefulness for the Tokyo games. Conversely, Olympics of years past have been known for hurried construction projects that later yielded massive, abandoned stadiums.

“We hope that our project to recycle small consumer electronics and our efforts to contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable society will become a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games,” the organization’s website reads.

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© Copyright Gannett 2018

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