The Tokyo 2020 Olympics is just less than a year away. Under the theme, “Be better, together- for planet and people,” the quadrennial event is set to be the most sustainable and environmentally friendly Olympic games of all time.
The medals for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics will be produced from recyclable electronic wastes (e-wastes). The organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Games undertook a “Tokyo 2020 Medal Project” where the citizens of Japan were encouraged to donate all the kinds of e-wastes they possessed. This initiative was started in April 2017 and concluded in March this year. During two year period, the committee collected 100% metals required to manufacture approximately 5000 gold, silver and bronze medals for both the Olympics and Paralympics. All these metals were extracted from the electronic wastes contributed by the people of Japan. “We are grateful for everyone’s contribution to this project. We hope that our project to recycle small consumer electronics and our efforts to contribute to an environment-friendly and sustainable society will become the legacy of 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” read the official website of 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The ‘Tokyo Medal Project’ saw the participation of 1,741 cities, i.e. more than 90% of Japanese cities.
As per the official figures, 78,985 tonnes of wastes were collected by the municipalities all across Japan. Out of the total collected wastes around 6.21 million were just used mobile phones. The drive saw a collection of approximately 32kgs of gold, 3,500kgs of silver and 2,200kgs of bronze. In addition to this, the podiums for medal ceremonies will also be created from the plastic wastes discarded by households. After the process of dismantling, extracting and refining, the metals will be handed over to the Olympic medal designer Junichi Kawanishi, who was selected as the designer after winning a contest for the same, which saw more than 400 other participants. This is not the first time that any country has implemented the idea of recycled metals for medals. In the previous 2016 Rio Olympics, Brazil had manufactured an estimated 30% of bronze and silver medals from recycled metals. But this is for the first time that the citizens of a country are actively involved in the process of recycling materials by donating the electronic wastes used to create medals. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will kick start from 24th July 2020 and will run till 9th August 2020.