2020 Summer Olympic Medals Made Out of Recycled Consumer Electronics

The medals for the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo are made of recycled consumer electronics including cellphones, digital cameras, games and laptops.
Donna Fuscaldo
Design of the 2020 Olympic MedalsThe International Olympic Committee

With a year to go before the 2020 summer Olympics in Tokyo, the winning design for the gold, silver and bronze medals, which will be made out of recycled consumer electronics extracted during the past two years, was chosen. 

A panel was put together to choose the design from 400 entries in a nationwide competition that drew both professional designers and design students. The panel chose a design presented by Junichi Kawanishi, Director of the Japan Sign Design Association and the Osaka Design Society. The design which will be used on 5,000 of these medals made of recycled waste, symbolize the energy and competitiveness of the athletes. 


Medals Made from Recycled Devices 

Two years ago Tokyo launched the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project as part of its efforts to make the 2020 summer Olympics the most environmentally friendly and sustainable games to date. The project drew donations from 1,300 educational institutions and 2,100 electronics retail stores in Japan. The country also set up yellow donation boxes in post offices and street corners around the country while a partnership enabled consumers to donate their old phones. 

The Olympic committee said more than 90% of Japan's local authorities participated in the initiative with a total of 78,985 tons of discarded devices collected. It included 6.21 million used mobile phones as well as digital cameras, handheld game consoles, and laptops. All of it was classified, taken apart and melted down to create the Olympic medals. The project was completed at the end of March with Japan collecting 30.3kg of gold, 4,100kg of silver and 2,700kg of bronze.

Japan Want's 2020 Olympics to be the Most Environmentally Friendly 

The medals aren't the only way Japan is trying to create the most environmentally friendly games the world has seen. The uniforms for the Olympic Torch Relay is being made partly with recycled plastic bottles while the victory ceremony podiums will be made from recycled household and marine waste plastic.

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Citizens of Japan contributed about 45 tons of plastic from their homes to develop the 100 podiums. Organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project hope to keep up the momentum, uring business owners, authorities and the public in Japan to donate household appliances so the metal can be used to aid the community including creating medals for local sports in the country. 

Tokyo isn't the first to used recycled waste to make Olympic medals. Brazil used it in the 2016 games to make about 30% of it's silver and bronze medals. 

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