Tokyo 2020 medals will be made from discarded laptops, smartphones

by Samuel Abasi Posted on February 9th, 2019

All medals at next summer’s Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo will be made from recycled electronic waste, including discarded smartphones, digital cameras and other handheld games and laptops, organizers revealed on Friday.

Officials said they expect to collect enough obsolete electronic devices by the end of March to extract the amount of gold, silver and bronze that will be required to manufacture all the medals that will be awarded next year.

The organizing committee said municipal authorities had already collected 47,488 tons of junked devices by November, roughly 19 months after the project was launched with targets of 30.3kg of gold, 4,100kg of silver and 2,700kg of bronze.

The goal for bronze was reached in June, while more than 90% of the gold and 85% of the silver has been collected, officials said.

“It is estimated that the remaining amounts of metal required to manufacture all Olympic and Paralympic medals can be extracted from the devices already donated,” the organizers said in a statement.

The concept has been implemented in previous Olympics, most recently at Rio 2016, where an estimated 30% of the silver and bronze medals were wrought from recycled materials. But organizers noted the current project will mark the first time citizens have been proactively involved with the donation of consumer electronics.

The designs for the Tokyo 2020 medals will be unveiled later this year.

Image: Three grams of gold tablets, left, can be extracted from 100 mobile phones, Tokyo Olympic organizers said

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Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

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