Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals to be made from recycled mobile phones
Above: Women’s all-around gymnastics winners at Rio 2016 Olympic Games: Aliya Mustafina of Russia, Simone Biles of USA and Aly Raisman of USA. Image copyright: zhukovsky/123RF Stock Photo
Tokyo 2020 has invited the Japanese population to give to the organising committee its discarded or obsolete electronic devices in order to recycle into the medals that will be awarded to athletes at the Games.
As part of its commitment to stage a sustainable Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020, it is planning to use metals collected from discarded or obsolete electronic devices in the production of the medals.
This initiative was agreed by the Tokyo 2020 board of directors at an executive board meeting late last year. It responds directly to recommendation four of Olympic Agenda 2020 that states sustainability be integrated into all aspects of the planning and execution of the Games.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach says, “These medals will be a permanent reminder to the Olympic champions of 2020 of their achievements. It’s good to see that they will also send a strong message of sustainability around the world in line with Olympic Agenda 2020.”
Tokyo 2020 is commited to engaging the whole Japanese nation in the project and to offer to everyone the opportunity to play a role in the Games’ preparations.
“Computers and smart phones have become useful tools. However, I think it is ‘mottainai’ [wasteful] to discard devices every time there is a technological advance and new models appear,” says Kohei Uchimura, Japan’s gymnast and three-time Olympic gold medallist. “Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals will be made out of people’s thoughts and appreciation for avoiding waste. I think there is an important message in this for future generations.”
The organising committee aims to collect as much as eight tonnes of metal, including 40kg of gold, 4,920kg of silver and 2,944kg of bronze. Following the production process, this will reduce down to two tonns, an amount needed to produce 5,000 Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals.
Two partner companies were also appointed at a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting earlier this month, NTT DOCOMO and Japan Environmental Sanitation Center (JESC). From April, collection boxes will be installed in more than 2,400 NTT DOCOMO stores and an undecided number of public offices throughout the country. The collection will end when the eight-tonne target is reached.