The Olympics are an event anticipated by the entire world. Lovers of winter and summer sports, or even those who just love the spectacle of it all, wait four long years to see the finest athletes represent their country. It’s a great event to get people thinking about sustainability. That is exactly what the 2020 Olympics host city, Tokyo, is doing!
In 2010, Vancouver, host city of the Winter Olympics, reused electronics like televisions, computers, and keyboards to make their medals. Now, Tokyo is drawing inspiration from that and making their medals in a similar way. In 2017, Tokyo announced the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project, saying that they’d be collecting “small electronic devices such as used mobile phones from all over Japan to produce the Olympic and Paralympic medals.”
They were aiming to collect around 70 pounds of gold, 7,700 pounds of silver, and 4,850 pounds of bronze. In total, they’d be making 5,000 medals from the collected devices. From April 2017 until the end of March 2019, they collected all the necessary devices and extracted 100 percent of the metals required to make the 5,000 medals.
In total, 78,985 tons of devices were collected. Approximately 32 kg of gold, 3,500 kg of silver, and 2,200 kg of bronze were collected. The Tokyo 2020 Medal Project’s website says, “We are grateful for everyone’s cooperation to this project. We hope that our project to recycle small consumer electronics and our efforts to contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable society will become a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games.”
Hopefully, there will be more aspects of the Olympic games next year that will be sustainable and environmentally friendly. It would set a wonderful precedent for the games in following years and might inspire athletes and people all around the world to live more eco-conscious lifestyles!
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