Next Summer, the top athletes in the world will compete in the Tokyo Olympics and those who come out on top will receive the ancient game’s first 100 percent recycled medals. The gold, silver and bronze medals will all be made from metals recycled directly from old cell phones, computers and other electronic waste.
The Olympic Committee selected Japanese artist Junichi Kawanishi’s design out of over 400 entries. They then spent the next two years collecting almost 79,000 tons of gadgets, including more than 6 million cellphones. Their “Everyone’s Medal” collection campaign gave ordinary people the opportunity to feel proud that their old phones would be reborn as Olympic medals.
“I never dreamed that the design I submitted, only as a memorial to this lifetime event, would be actually selected,” said designer Kawanishi. “With their shining rings, I hope the medals will be seen as paying tribute to the athletes’ efforts, reflecting their glory and symbolizing friendship.”
Olympic medals have not been made of solid gold since the Stockholm games in 1912, but Olympic regulations do dictate the minimum quantity of each precious medal. The Tokyo medals will feature six grams of gold plating with a silver interior. The silver medal is indeed pure silver and the bronze is a blend of copper and zinc.
Brazil led the way in 2016 with mercury-free gold medals, but Tokyo’s design is an unprecedented emblem of sustainability both around the world and within the Olympic games and village.
Over 5,000 medals will be produced and used for both the Olympics and the Paraolympics.
Via Tokyo 2020
Images via Tokyo 2020