Tokyo 2020: Medals to be made from recycled waste

Cristina Cross
February 10, 2019

Medals for the 2020 Olympics will be made from recycled electronic devices, the Tokyo Organising Committee has announced. Almost 50,000 tons of devices, including cameras, games consoles and laptops, plus more than five million smartphones, were collected for the Old Metals New Medals project across Japan over 18 months since it opened.

Dancers perform during the "Love Sport Tokyo 2020" segment during the Closing Ceremony on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Maracana Stadium on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The £3m Aspiration Fund was launched in December 2018 and initially saw 14 Olympic and Paralympic sports receive investment to help support their ambitions for Tokyo 2020.

The recycled metal has been collected from the Japanese public as well as businesses and industry.

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Fast-forward to its update this month, and the committee revealed that it has now hit 93.7-percent and 85.4-percent of its gold and silver targets, respectively.

So far, Tokyo's committee reached its bronze incentive, but it still around six percent off its 30.3 kg gold target and 15 percent of its 4,100 kg silver goal.

By November past year, municipal authorities had already collected 47,488 tonnes of discarded devices, with the public handing in another five million used phones to a local network provider.

All Olympic and Paralympic medals can be made from devices already donated, the committee is estimating, with nationwide collection scheduled to stop on 31 March. "The elite athletes are being looked after by a different set of professional people so that there is no bureaucracy", Rathore, an olympic silver-medallist in double-trap shooting, said.

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