Tokyo 2020 Medals will be made out of recycled e-waste

The organising committee for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games has unveiled the designs for the medals which will be handed out to the winners. The Tokyo 2020 Games website reported a couple of years ago that Japanese citizens were encouraged to donate their discarded or obsolete electronic devices. The metals from these devices will be used in the production of the medals that will be awarded to athletes at the Games.

The organising committee has now unveiled what these medals will look like. The medals that hang from the necks of the world’s top athletes represent the struggle for brilliance in the years before the games themselves begin.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold medal
The gold medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games

Tokyo 2020 Games states, “The medals resemble rough stones that have been polished and which now shine, with “light” and “brilliance” their overall themes. The medals collect and reflect myriad patterns of light, symbolising the energy of the athletes and those who support them; their design is intended to symbolise diversity and represent a world where people who compete in sports and work hard are honoured.”

Japan gymnast and three-time Olympic gold medallist Kohei Uchimura said, “Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals will be made out of people’s thoughts and appreciation for avoiding waste.”

Collection of metals

The organising committee had initially aimed to collect as much as eight tons of metal (gold: 40 kg, silver: 4920 kg, bronze: 2944 kg). After the production process, it will result in two tons, an amount needed to produce 5,000 Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals. The committee reported that they were able to collect about 32 kg gold, 3,500 kg of silver and 2,200 kg of bronze from 78,985 tons of electronics. A lot of these electronic devices were smartphones, which were handed over at NTT DoCoMo stores across the country.

The committee had partnered with NTT DoCoMo and Japan Environmental Sanitation Center (JESC) for the collection drive. The drive ran from April 2017 to March 2019. People from all over Japan donated their small electronic devices, from which officials could recover the gold, silver, and bronze necessary.

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