Japan has announced plans to make its 2020 Olympic Games’ medals out of electronic waste and home appliances.
The country is looking to follow up on the Rio 2016 Olympic Games’ focus on sustainability, with Brazil using gold extracted without the use of mercury, and silver and bronze from recycled sources.
Smartphones and tablets contain small amount of precious metals such as platinum, palladium, gold, silver, lithium, cobalt and nickel, and cars and homes appliances – fridges, air conditioners – also contain rare metals, as well as base metal such as iron, copper, lead and zinc.
In order to utilise these, chemical processes are used to separate the metals from the rest of the e-waste and industry scraps collected or purchased by recycling and refining companies.
The amount of metal needed will depend on the number and size of medals to be produced for the Games. 5,130 medals were produced for the Rio Games and 4,700 were produced for London 2012, with this year’s medals the largest ever at 1cm thick in the middle and weight 500g each.
Five new sports have already been added to the Olympics for 2020; baseball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing, meaning additional medals will be needed.
Info and image from www.sportindustry.biz