Tokyo plans to make 2020 Olympics medals from old smartphones

  • Japan, the host of Olympics 2020, is going to use e-waste to source the gold, silver, and bronze needed to make medals for the games
  • Millions of discarded smartphones and other small consumer electronics will be used to make medals
  • Japan government is formulating a plan for crafting the eco-friendly medals by conducting meetings with nonprofit organizations and Olympics organizers
  • 650,000 tons of small electronics and electric home appliances are thrown out every year in Japan

Tokyo, JAPAN – Tokyo, the host of Olympics 2020, is considering the use of e-waste to source the gold, silver and bronze medals needed for the games by tapping Japan’s urban mine, which is made up of millions of discarded smartphones and other small consumer electronics.

Although there are still four years before the games, Tokyo is already dominating its upcoming Olympic Games with its strategies to conduct the games and develop the medals.

An article by Nikkei Asian Review said that the host country will use e-waste, especially used cells phones and other electronics devices as the source of metal to develop the medals.

According to officials, Olympic medals don’t require that much metal, as in recent Olympics conducted at Rio, wherein the gold medal was made of about 1 pound of silver and 0.01 pounds of gold.

Reports said that Japan had recovered about 3,452 pounds of silver from small consumer electronics thrown in Japan. This technique of using discarded electronics will also help keep these toxic products out of landfills.

Most of the electronics material contains noxious materials. Recycling such materials is one of the biggest challenges of many countries. In some cases, richer countries send the noxious materials to developing countries to deteriorate in landfills.

Using parts of the e-waste in such a way to make medals seems to be one of the best ways to use resources by any country.

The Japan government is formulating a plan for crafting the eco-friendly medals by conducting meetings with nonprofit organizations who have interests in developing sustainable societies along with event organizers and tech companies in Tokyo.

GENKI, one of the nonprofit organizations, have a mission to create a zero-waste society by developing partnerships with citizens, businesses, and government leaders.

In a Huffington Post story, it said that 650,000 tons of small electronics and electric home appliances are thrown out every year in Japan but very little of that is recycled.

Less than 100,000 tons is collected for recycling as mentioned by the non-profit organization.

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