Tokyo’s Olympic medals might be made from recycled smartphones


For those who didn’t know, the 2020 summer Olympic games will be held in Tokyo, Japan. According to a report from the Nikkei Asian Review, organizers aim to produce gold, silver, and bronze medals from the metals found in discarded smartphones and other electronics.

This is a good way to deal with e-waste. It has been estimated that the gold and silver contained in the country’s discarded electronics makes up for 16% and 22% of the global supply respectively, from this, it is seen that there should be more than sufficient to produce enough to create medals for the Olympics.

Getting lots of such precious materials from devices is certainly possible, earlier on Apple recovered about $40 million worth of gold from its recycling program. Speaking of Japan, in 2014 alone, they managed to recover 143kg of gold, 1,566kg of silver, and 1,112kg of copper and in 2012 award medals given to athletes consisted of 9.6kg of gold, 1,210kg of silver, and 700kg of copper.

Although Japan isn’t as resource-rich as other countries, the country generates approximately 650,000 tons of e-waste every year, the gold and silver contained in their discarded electronics and its e-waste supply should be sufficient to produce Olympic medals.

“In order for all Japanese people to participate in the Tokyo Olympics, we are asking companies to propose a concrete collection proposal and would like to work with the Olympic organizing committee to realize the proposal,” Yuko Sakita, of the NGO Genki Net for Creating a Sustainable Society, tells the newspaper.

The 2020 Summer Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event due to be celebrated in the tradition of the Olympic Games as governed by theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC). The games are planned to be held from 24 July to 9 August 2020 in Tokyo. The city was announced as the host at the 125th IOC Session in Buenos Aires on 7 September 2013.

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