It’s been announced that the medals for the next Olympic and Paralympic Games will be made from recycled metals. Traditionally the metal for the medals is purchased from mining companies, but Japan’s organising committee wants to highlight the possibilities for recycling while also reducing the cost of the Games. Members of the Japanese public are being asked to donate their old mobile phones, digital cameras, computers and small appliances in order to supply the estimated 8 tonnes needed for the medals.
This won’t be the first time that Games medals have contained recycled materials (at the 2016 Rio Games the silver and bronze medals contained 30% recycled metal) but it’s the first attempt to make all the medals solely from pre-used metal. The electronic devices that will be collected across Japan contain small amounts of precious metals such as the gold, silver and bronze that will be used to make the estimated 5000 medals needed. They can also contain rarer metals such as platinum, lithium, cobalt and nickel, and there is an expanding industry that collects and separates these metals in order to recycle them.
Tokyo’s Olympic Games will take place between the 24th July and the 9th August 2020; the Paralympic Games between the 25th August and the 6th September 2020.
Featured image: Olympic rings by Department for Culture, Media and Sport