The Olympics is an amazing event. Thousands of athletes representing hundreds of countries come together every two years to compete. Millions of people around the world watch the best of the best give everything they have, every ounce of strength and skill, to win a medal. When the games take place in Tokyo in 2020, those medals will hold a little extra meaning.
Organizers of the Tokyo games recently announced plans to collect millions of used cell phones and other electronics from the Japanese public and use the metal recovered from recycling the e-waste to produce the medals. With collection boxes planned for more than 2,400 NTT DOCOMO stores and public offices around the country, the committee hopes to collect eight tons of metal (gold: 40 kg, silver: 4920 kg, bronze: 2944 kg) in order to produce the 5,000 medals for the Olympic and Paralympic games.
In a press release, Ashton Eaton, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and world record holder said, “The weight of a medal around your neck is always a good weight and when an athlete at Tokyo wins a medal, the weight of it will not be from the gold, silver or bronze; it will be the weight of a nation. The awesomeness of this project makes me want to come out of retirement and compete for one.”
While the medals for the 2010 and 2016 games made partly of recycled materials, this will be the first time the medals will be made entirely of recycled metals.