Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals will be made from recycled smartphones

Gwen Vasquez
February 10, 2019

The committee launched its appeal for unwanted smartphones, cameras, laptops, handheld games consoles and other electronics in April 2017, which was met with "huge levels of support from the public and companies across Japan and from national and global athletes", it claimed.

A Tokyo recycling program thought it would be only natural to mine the precious metals needed to create the 2020 Olympic awards from old electronics, including smartphones (via The Verge). Recycled metal has also been collected from local Japanese businesses and industry.

The organizing committee said municipal authorities had already collected 47,488 tons of junked devices by November, roughly 19 months after the project was launched with targets of 30.3kg of gold, 4,100kg of silver and 2,700kg of bronze.

The Tokyo Organising Committee said Friday that the goal of collecting over 30kg of gold has been nearly completed, with the necessary amount of precious metals expected to be gathered by the end of March.

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Around 47,488 tons of old devices had been collected by October a year ago, with more than 5m mobile phones handed over.

Britain, which has never won a medal in Olympic basketball, claimed 67 medals, including 27 golds, at the 2016 Rio Games.

The design of the medals is expected to be unveiled later this year. They hit the target for bronze last June, and by October had more than 90 percent of the gold and 85 percent of the silver. "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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