The world’s best athletes will wear old cell phones around their necks next summer.
The medals awarded during next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo—set to kick off July 24, 2020—will be completely made from recycled materials. The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games decided to create sustainable medals in an effort to build “an innovative future for all.”
Tokyo 2020 Medal Project officials shared that they hoped the results of the upcycling would create a lasting legacy and “contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable society.”
The process has been in the works since early 2017, when Japan announced it would collect old electronics and repurpose them into medals. Since then, the organizing committee has gathered over 47,000 tons of tech waste and more than 5 million cell phones in an effort to make the Games more sustainable.
The committee sought to collect around 70 pounds of gold, 7,700 pounds of silver, and 4,850 pounds of bronze—all from various donated electronic gadgets—to fashion approximately 5,000 medals for next year’s Games. The Japanese government will further recycle any source materials that aren’t used to make the medals.
Tokyo took inspiration from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, which implemented a similar method of reusing electronics–such as TVs, computers, and keyboards—for their medals. For that effort, the Vancouver-based metal company Teck Resources teamed up with the Canadian Mint to create approximately 1,000 medals.
This article was written by Daisy Hernandez and was published by Popular Mechanics on 26/07/2019
Image: Pixabay; The Olympic Committee