Tokyo 2020: Medals to be made from recycled waste

  • Tokyo 2020: Medals to be made from recycled waste

Tokyo 2020: Medals to be made from recycled waste

"Thanks to the huge levels of support from the public and companies across Japan and from national and worldwide athletes, it is estimated that the remaining amounts of metals required to manufacture all Olympic and Paralympic medals can be extracted from the devices already donated", Tokyo 2020 said in the press statement.

Well, not every part of them, of course.

By November 2018, 47,488 tonnes of discarded devices had been collected, with the public handing in another five million used phones to a local network provider.

The Organizing Committee of Tokyo's 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games has been busy collecting old phones, cameras and other gadgets since April 2017, to smash up and recycle the precious metals into medals.

The organizers announced that the target for bronze was hit last June, while 90 percent of the gold and 85 percent of the silver was already collected in October.

In case you're wondering, the typical iPhone is estimated to contain roughly 0.034 grams of gold and 0.34g of silver, which tells you everything you need to know about the world's e-waste plague. And Japan is not even the most wasteful country by volume, ranking behind the United States and China with millions of tonnes of electronic products improperly discarded every year.

Just 30% of gold and silver medals were made out of recycled material at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, according to BBC.

The committee said the designs for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals will be introduced in summer 2019.