The Olympic awards ceremony is pretty magical. It’s a time to celebrate the athletes who have worked so hard for their chance to compete. This year, the event in Tokyo will be even more special because the shiny medals the athletes will be receiving are made from recycled electronics.
Thanks to the Tokyo Medal Project, 100 percent of the estimated 5,000 gold, silver, and bronze medals were created from nearly 80 tons of recycled electronics (such as phones and laptops) that people end up discarding each year. Of the 80 tons, approximately 6.2 million were cell phones!
The project, which started in 2017, was a national effort of the people of Japan that took two years of collecting. (A whopping 78,985 tons collected by municipal authorities across Japan, to be exact.) But collecting was just the first step. All of the electronic materials also had to be dismantled, extracted, and refined by contractors. After that, Japanese designer, Junichi Kawanishi, designed the winning concept.
The medals aren’t the only way the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are aiming to be more sustainable. The podium the athletes receive these medals on is made from recycled plastic. Athletes are also sleeping on recyclable cardboard beds and will be getting around with the help of e-Palette vehicles.
Hopefully future Olympic Games will have the same mindset. But for now, this event has definitely proved it’s going for the gold on the sustainability front.
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