Tokyo unveils 2020 Olympic medals made from recycled phones


The medals were designed to promote the Tokyo 2020 brand vision of “Innovation from Harmony”.
Photo: Tokyo Olympic Committee

During the 2020 Summer Olympics games in Tokyo, metal from your old smartphone might get draped around winners’ necks.

Tokyo unveiled its Olympic medals made from recycled phones and other used electronics. They’re so beautiful that you’d never guess they’re made out of e-waste.

Take a closer look:

To produce the 5,000 medals for the games, the Tokyo Organizing Committee conducted a project to collect used electronics from all over Japan and harvest the rare earth minerals inside.

More than 78,000 tons of electronics were collected, including more than 6 million smartphones. Extraction processes gathered 32 kilograms of gold, currently valued at around $1.4 million. The project also extracted 3,500 kilograms of silver and 2,200 kilograms of bronze.

The gold medals are made of pure silver, with 6 grams of gold plating. The silver medal is pure silver, and the bronze is made of 95% copper and 5% zinc.

A contest for the design of the medals attracted more than 400 applicants. Junichi Kawanishi created the winning design. The front of the medals features Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, in front of the Panathinaikos Stadium. The 2020 Summer Olympics emblem is on the back.


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