Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games medals will be made from recycled electronics

The medals for the Tokyo Olympic games will be made from recycled electronics.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games organizers have announced that the medals will be made from recycled electronics.

The project allows the citizens of Japan to take part in the medals crafting process by recycling their old electronics. Starting with April 2017, collection boxes will be available in Japan and people will be able to dispose of their broken or outdated electronic devices.

How much metal needs to be recycled to make the medals for the 2020 Olympics?

The main goal is to collect approximately 8 tons of metal, which will be recycled down to about 2 tons of usable material. This amount of metal would be required in order to produce 5,000 medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Because Earth’s resources are limited and very hard to obtain, the cost for the production of the medals can be reduced by giving the people of Japan the opportunity to recycle their old electronics. This practice is not new and the top countries that recycle and purchase e-waste products are China, India and Indonesia.

Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi said: „There’s a limit on the resources of our earth, so recycling these things will make us think about the environment.” 

I do not totally agree with his statement, and here is why:

The city of Guiyu from China receives about 100,000 tonnes of e-waste daily. Along with the processes of separating metals comes great risks. The environment is affected if the processes are not carried out accordingly, Guiyu has the highest levels of dioxins ever recorded and this pollution translates in a majority of residents suffering from some form of neurological damage.

However I do admit that it is the best scenario, far better because you no longer have to dig deep into the Earth’s surface in order to harvest precious metals.

E-waste recycling

The metals that have a high priority on the list are gold, silver and bronze.
Electronics such as smartphones and tablets contain small amounts of precious and rare metals: platinum, palladium, gold, silver, lithium, cobalt and nickel. Laptops and desktop computers are also rich in precious metals however they are bulky and probably unsuitable for this project.

Scrap cars and household electronics such as refrigerators and air conditioners contain rarer metals, along with base metals, including iron, copper, lead and zinc which are also worth recycling.

U.S. decathlete Ashton Eaton , two-time winner of Olympic gold medal and world record holder said in a statement: “And now, thanks to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medal Project, not only do the athletes inspire with their stories, but each medal itself has a story of its own! The best part is that each citizen has a chance to contribute to the story, to raise awareness about a sustainable future and to make a unique contribution. And, most excitingly, they have a chance to be part of the Olympic journey.”
Kohei Uchimura, Japan’s three-time Olympic gold medalist in gymnastics as well as other athletes are supporting the project.

I think we can all agree that this will send an important message to the future generations and we should focus our efforts by tapping a bit more in the process of recycling material. In order to have a sustainable future we must taking care of the environment and recycle materials rater then sending them to the junk yard.

George Cristea-Matei

Owner & writer at iArtCool. Following different paths towards the road to self-discovery. I fix stuff, phones, computers, spacecrafts & jedi light sabers.

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