The organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games expected to hand out 5,000 medals to winners of Olympic and Paralympic events. And they want to use recycled materials to make those metals.

So they’re calling on Japanese residents to donate old smartphones and other gadgets so that the metal from those devices can be recycled.

The goal is to collect about 8 tons of metal which will result in about 2 tons worth of metals after the gold, silver, and bronze are processed.

The idea was first floated last summer, but now officials are following through by launching a national recycling initiative.

It’ll take a lot of recycled electronics to get enough metal for the project (although it’s worth noting that only about 88 pounds of gold are needed, since gold medals are actually composed mostly of other metals), and the environmental impact of the Olympic Games is still huge once you take into account the construction of facilities, the travel of thousands of athletes, journalists, and spectators, and hundreds of other factors.

But it’s an interesting nod to recycling environmentalism… and it makes sense for a country like Japan, which does not have a significant local mining industry, and which would otherwise have to import the materials for making Olympic medals.

via Tokyo 2020

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