Eight tonnes of metal is needed to produce the 5,000 medals required for the Games
The medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be made from recycled mobile phones in an effort to engage the Japanese nation and meet sustainability criteria.
The Tokyo 2020 organising committee has called on the Japanese public to donate their “discarded or obsolete electronic devices” to provide the eight tonnes of metal required for the production of the medals.
The production process will reduce this eight tonnes down to around two, enough to produce 5,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals.
“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,” said Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi.
“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.”
Collection boxes will be installed in the stores of partner organisations NTT DOCOMO and the Japan Environmental Sanitation Center (JESC) from April, with the collection ending when the eight-tonne target is reached.
Japan’s three-time Olympic gold medallist gymnast Kohei Uchimura, said: “Computers and smart phones have become useful tools. However, I think it is ‘mottainai’ [or wasteful] to discard devices every time there is a technological advance and new models appear.
“Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals will be made out of people’s thoughts and appreciation for avoiding waste. I think there is an important message in this for future generations.”