Olympic medals for Tokyo 2020 to be made from recycled metals

Jemima Sumgong Kenya poses with her gold medal during a past global athletic event. /FILE
Jemima Sumgong Kenya poses with her gold medal during a past global athletic event. /FILE

Medals for the 2020 Olympics will be made from recycled electronic devices, the Tokyo Organising Committee has announced.

The Old Metals New Medals project launched a nationwide collection of discarded electronic devices in April 2017 to draw attention to the importance of sustainability.

Millions of smartphones and tonnes of old digital products were donated, altogether

amounting to nearly 50,000 tons of devices.

Devices included laptops, cameras and more than five million smartphones over 18 months since the project started.

A total of 16.5kg of gold has been collected, representing 54 per cent of the target, and 1,800kg of silver, 43.9 per cent of the target.

The committee said that the project has offered the public an opportunity to play an important role in the games' preparations.

A Team Great Britain spokesman said:

'We think this is an excellent initiative and it is something we have been supporting through our frequent visits to Tokyo, encouraging both recycling and people to support the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.'

The Japanese public donated their old devices at shops and municipal authorities across the country before they were dismantled refined and turned into raw metals.

Some 2,700kg of bronze had already been extracted by June 2018 and by October there had been 28.4kg of gold and 3,500kg of silver extracted from the donations.

The project is being supported by mobile phone operator NTT DOCOMO, the Japanese Government environmental Sanitation Center and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.

British Olympic swimmer Ben Proud said that everyone is getting to the point were our generation needs to think about the next step, our future.