You know what they say, one man’s trash is another man’s… Olympic medal?
The organising committee for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo plans to make all medals at next year’s events out of recycled electronics.
The initiative kicked off in April 2017 and involved asking municipalities all over Japan to send in their old smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets. The goal is to collect 67 lbs of gold, 9,039 lbs of silver, and 5,592 lbs of bronze.
Fun fact: there are approximately 25 milligrams of gold in each smartphone, worth roughly US$1 (A$1.41).
Soon after the announcement, donations from 90 per cent of Japanese municipalities came pouring in, resulting in over 47,488 tons of e-waste collected, including about five million used mobile phones.
The project was so successful that the organisers are on track to meet their goal by March.
The 2500 Olympic medals, the designs of which to be unveiled later this year, will then be produced by extracting the metals from the ore using a smelting process.
With humanity generating approximately 44.7 million metric tonnes of electronic waste every year, this initiative offers a small yet creative solution to the growing problem. Hopefully, the example set by Japan will encourage other countries to be more aggressive with their recycling programs – lest we want to come in last place in this race against waste.
Via Design Boom