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Medals from Old Phones: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, the New Motto for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

2020 Tokyo Olympics organisers made the medals from 6.21 million used mobile phones, along with digital cameras, handheld games and laptops.

News18 Sports

Updated:December 30, 2019, 11:35 AM IST
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Medals from Old Phones: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, the New Motto for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
2020 Tokyo Olympics medals (Photo Credit: Reuters)

As the world rapidly descends into the reality that is climate change, the organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics organising committee decided to make their medals from recycled phones.

With the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project, organisers asked fans from all over Japan to donate their old phones and other consumer electronics at 2,400 nationwide stores.

With more than 90 percent of Japan's local authorities participating, a total of 78,985 tons of discarded devices were collected, a haul which included approximately 6.21 million used mobile phones, along with digital cameras, handheld games and laptops.

This meant that the final goals of 30.3kg of gold, 4,100kg of silver and 2,700kg of bronze were reached by the time the collection cycle closed on 31 March 2019. 5,000 Olympic medals were for the Olympic season next year upcycling that.

The initiative draws inspiration from a similar strategy adopted by the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games which were made by recovering metal from unwanted computer parts and was trialled at Rio 2016, where an estimated 30 percent of the silver and bronze medals originated from recycled materials.

"We hope that our project to recycle small consumer electronics and our efforts to contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable society will become a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games," Tokyo 2020 organisers told CNET.

The medals will come on ribbons that use traditional Japanese chequered patterns and graphics that symbolises kimono layering techniques.

The medals were unveiled at a ceremony on July 24, marking the year-to-go countdown until the Tokyo 2020 Games.

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