Medalists of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo will be going home with a upcycled medal. The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games recently announced they will be launching their new Tokyo 2020 Medal project in April this year.
To provide all winning athletes with a medal, 30 kilogram of gold, 4000 kilogram of silver and another 2700 kilogram of bronze is needed. Unfortunately, Japan doesn’t dispose of sufficient natural sources to deliver these precious metals.
The Organising Committee therefore appeals to another source; e-waste.
Japan yearly produces over 650.000 tons of electronic waste coming from smartphones, laptops and other gadgets. Many of these products still have useful components, so in 2016 the Japanese OC called for a national collection of electronic devices. The result after 2 years is 47.500 ton of electronic waste. An amazing result for a great initiative.
The deadline of the collection project is 31st of March. The devices will be dismantled, and the metals will be melted down for medals. The committee is aiming for 100% recycled content and this summer they will reveal the final design.
The idea of using recycled metals in medals has been used in the past. However, this project makes Tokyo 2020 a first in the history of the Olympics and Paralympics by involving citizens in the collection of consumer electronics for the purpose of manufacturing medals, and manufacturing medals from the extracted gold.
Athletes respond enthusiastically as now it involves a complete nation to contribute to the making of this medal, which makes it even more special to win one.
The 2020 Olympic Games are held 24th of July until 9th of August in Tokyo, Japan.