The 2020 Oympic and Paralympic Games will have all its medals made from recycled smartphones and household appliances. The Games will require some five thousand medals in gold, silver and bronze.
Traditionally, host countries would acquire the metals from mining companies, but the Tokyo Organising Committee has opted for ‘urban mining.’ The largest e-waste company in Japan will be extracting the metals from phones donated by the Japanese public.
The campaign is being organised in conjunction with the Japan Environmental Sanitation Center. Drop boxes have been set up in telecommunications companies all over Japan to collect the 300,000 smartphones required.
An Olympic gold medal must contain no less than six grams of gold. The five thousand medals will require 40 kilograms of gold, 2,920 kilograms of silver and 2,994 kilograms of bronze.
Through such initiatives and public involvement, the Games’ initial budget of $26.5 billion has been reduced remarkably to $16.8 billion.
e-waste is a profitable resource
Smartphones contain many precious metals including platinum, palladium, cobalt, lithium and nickel. All of these will be extracted via chemical processes. Tokyo 2020 Sports Director Koji Murofushi told a news conference, “There’s quite a limit on the resources of our earth, and so recycling these things and giving them a new use will make us all think about the environment”
Souces: Aljazeera, BBC
Photo: Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games
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