All medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be made from metal collected by recycling electronic waste Photo: AFP/File

Tokyo strikes gold, silver and bronze with e-waste Olympic medals

By Charly Triballeau

All medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be made from metal collected by recycling electronic waste, games organisers said on Friday.

Tokyo's organizing committee in 2017 launched a project to collect assorted electronic waste -- including old smartphones and laptops -- from the public to collect metal for the medals. Recycled metal has also been collected from local Japanese businesses and industry.

In a statement issued on Friday, organizers said the collection was expected to reach its goal and will end in late March.

By November last year, municipal authorities had already collected 47,488 tons of discarded devices, with the public handing in another five million used phones to a local network provider. Organizers had set a target of 2,700 kgs of bronze, 30.3 kgs of gold and 4,100 kg of silver. They hit the target for bronze last June, and by October had more than 90 percent of the gold and 85 percent of the silver.

"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.

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.

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

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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lovely. these athletes work so hard for years to compete in this international event and their medals are literally made of garbage??

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Considering that the Olympics tries to take up our time with frivolous sporting events, diverting our attention from really important things, that it takes money better spent elsewhere and uses it for giant stadiums that start to rot away weeks after the event is over (Google abandoned Olympic Stadiums) that it steals our taxpayer dollars, and in some countries, people's land, and that it's rife with corruption and cheating, this story of Olympic medals made of GARBAGE is a totally fitting meme.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

And I contributed two old smartphones. Glad they were put to some good use.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Meanwhile, how much waste will be generated as a result of the construction for the Olympics?!?!

But, hey, at least the medals are made of recycled materials.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

@Aly Rustom

way to be a narrow minded party pooper. Do you think they are going to look or feel like garbage?

Good on Japan for this ingenious idea!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Melt it down, skim off the impurities, good as new.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

way to be a narrow minded party pooper.

way to be just plain narrow minded

Do you think they are going to look or feel like garbage?


Good on Japan for this ingenious idea!

I disagree

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

If I liked the Olympics, this idea would be ok. I'm saying it's the Olympics themselves which I consider to be garbage. Modern frivolous narcissism.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Recycling does work in may meaningful ways, if only one tries.

The Olympic logo for the Tokyo Olympics too is "recycled" by a technique which uses the same pieces to create the Olympic and the Para-Olympic logos for Japan.

So keep recycling.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Can't hurt, and if you want to recycle, then good on them. I just hope this doesn't increase theft or those idiots who drive around with loudspeakers asking to get into your apartment and see what electronics you've got and otherwise drive around shouting.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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