The medals for the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games will be made from metals recovered from old mobile phones.
The organisers will be requesting the people of Japan to donate their old unwanted cell phones and even other obsolete electronic devices, such as digital cameras, laptops and gaming consoles, from which the metals will be extracted for the 2020 Olympic medals.
The collection drive will start from the month of April.
For this initiative, the organising committee has teamed up with telecom operator NTT Docomo and the Japan Environmental Sanitation Center.
The collection boxes will be installed in more than 2,400 NTT Docomo stores and few public offices in Japan.
Hidemasa Nakamura, the chief financial officer of the Tokyo 2020 Games, has stated:
We are asking people to recycle voluntarily. The concept is recycling and sustainability, which is in line with the ideals of the Olympic Movement. It is also about participation.”
For this project, millions of smartphones will be required to reach the target of about 8,000 kg. This includes 40kg of gold, 4,920kg of silver and 2,944kg of bronze.
They will be further boiled down to 2,000kg of metals, which will be sufficient enough to produce the total 5000 medals to be awarded at the games.
The committee has confirmed that the collection of old devices will stop when the target has been reached.
In response to the announcement, Ashton Eaton, former American decathlete, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder, has stated:
The weight of a medal around your neck is always a good weight. And when an athlete at Tokyo wins a medal, the weight of it will not be from the gold, silver or bronze; it will be the weight of a nation. The awesomeness of this project makes me want to come out of retirement and compete for one.”
The usage of recycled metals for Olympic medals is not a new concept. 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio had 30 percent recycled material for the silver and bronze medals.
Furthermore, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver had medals built from recycled circuit boards
Although, the Tokyo 2020 will be the first Olympic to make every gold medal from recycled materials.
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Kshitij runs The Patil Post and Zetabyte Solutions Pvt. Ltd. - a web development company focussed on E-Commerce implementations. Loves to eat, sell, write and talk. He is an avid reader, an enthusiastic traveller and trekker at heart.
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