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Tokyo's 2020 Olympic medals were made entirely from recycled electronics.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic gold

I don't think there is a more valuable prize for an athlete than an Olympic medal. However, I think this year's medals are more valuable than ever because they are made of recycled metal for the first time in Olympic history.

To produce these valuable medals, the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) launched the “Tokyo 2020 Medal Project” in 2017 to collect small electronic devices such as used mobile phones from all over Japan. The project received donations and support from 1,300 educational institutions and 2,100 electronic retail stores across Japan. Donation boxes have also been placed in many locations throughout Japan for local donations.

This project made Japan the first country in the history of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to involve citizens in medal production and produce medals using recycled metals.

A total of 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded at the Tokyo Olympics. A total of 78,985 tons of electronic devices were collected across Japan over two years to produce these medals.

electronic trash

Gold, silver and bronze elements extracted from millions of electronic devices, including 6.21 million mobile phones, were refined and used to produce medals.

The recycling campaign yielded 31.75 kg of gold, 3,490 kg of silver and 2,199 kg of bronze, and the gold alone is worth 2 million dollars.

What is the metal content in these medals?

  • The gold medal, which weighs 556 grams, is 98.8% silver, while the remaining 1.2% is gold.

  • The silver medal is all silver and weighs 550gr

  • The bronze medal is an alloy of 95% copper and 5% zinc and its weight is 450gr.

Using recycled electronics for medals at the Tokyo Olympics is just one way the event's organizers are working to minimize their environmental footprint. Other sustainable practices are:

  • using recycled construction debris from temporary housing built following the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami in 2011 for the Olympic torches;

  • Using lightweight recycled cardboard mattresses produced by the Japanese company Airweave for athletes' sleeping areas;

  • Using mattresses that can be recycled after use;,

  • Using autonomous electric cars made by Toyota to transport athletes around the Olympic Village.

The Japanese Olympic committee, which attaches importance to metal recycling, will hopefully inspire many other sports event organizers.

A total of 108 athletes, 50 women and 58 men, represent Turkey in 18 branches at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. I wholeheartedly congratulate both those who were able to get a medal and all the athletes who succeeded in getting there.

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