Turning garbage into gold: Tokyo to award e-waste Olympic medals

Olive Hawkins
February 10, 2019

It will be the first time the Japanese capital has hosted the Games since 1964.

Orgainizers for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are in the process of collecting electronic waste in order to create medals made exclusively out of recycled material, according to numerous reports.

The collection of discarded and obsolete electronic devices, including smartphones, digital cameras, handheld games and laptops, was launched in April 2017.

This means that all of the 2020 Olympic medals will potentially have iPhone and Android parts in them.

Stations located at post offices and other public buildings collected other electronic devices. After collecting more than 48,000 tons of e-waste, the target for bronze has been met, while the country has 85.4 percent of the silver and 93.7 percent of the gold necessary.

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By November past year, 47,488 tonnes of discarded devices had been collected, with the public handing in another five million used phones to a local network provider.

Seven sports will receive extra funding to support their plans for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Recycled metals have been used in previous years to make Olympic medals, including in Rio where some 30 percent of the silver and bronze in medals came from recycled materials.

Targeted amounts of bronze, gold, and silver were also successful from the nationwide collection: By June 2018, the targeted amount of bronze (roughly 2,700 kilograms) was already extracted from old devices.

"We have just begun working on systems that can connect the athletes to the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) absolutely straight, transparent and quick", he added.

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