The Olympic organizers of Tokyo have called out donations from the Japanese public for old smartphones and other electronic devices that are not in use. Medals for 2020 Olympics will be made from these donated metals after they are recycled.
This is an attempt by the Olympics organizing committee of Tokyo to add an environmentally friendly hue to 2020 Olympics. The committee aims to collect eight tones of metal, which includes 40 kg gold, 2,920 kg silver and 2,994 kg bronze, from recycling bins across Japan. Using these donated metals, 5,000 Olympics and Paralympic medals will be made.
A woman is silhouetted against a monitor showing Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics emblems during the Olympic and Paralympic flag-raising ceremony at Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo, Japan, September 21, 2016 (image)
Japan makes this effort to promote sustainability and also save costs. The initial estimate of the event ballooned to more than 3 trillion yen ($26.5 billion), which was later reduced to $16.8 billion last year.
Recycled materials have been used in Olympic medals in previous years also. The recent example can be seen in Rio last year where 30 percent of silver and bronze medals were made from recycled materials.
Sports Director for the 2020 event, Koji Murofishi said-
"There's quite a limit on the resources of our earth, and so recycling these things and giving them a new use will make us all think about the environment."
He was also the gold medalist in 2004 Athens Olympics hammer throw.
"Having a project that allows all the people of Japan to take part in creating the medals that will be hung around athletes' necks is really good."
He also adds that for children who will be making their contributions in creating these medals will have a memory of them being a part of an environmental cause.
Apart from mobile phones and appliances, e-waste such as laptops, digital cameras and game units can also be donated. The collection boxes will be installed from April in local offices and stores of telecom firm NTT DoCoMo Inc. This firm will partner with Japan Environmental Sanitation Centre for the project.
The collection would end after eight tonnes of metal is gathered. The organizers are still working on further details.