This year, medals given to winners at the Summer Olympics were made of recycled electrical devices. Two years before the Olympics, the organizing committee launched the ‘Tokyo Olympic Project’ to recycle old electronic gadgets such as smartphones and laptops.
The project attracted donations and support from educational institutions, electronic retail stores across Japan. According to the IOC(International Olympic Committee) donation boxes also were placed for local donations. Up to 90% of Japanese cities, towns and villages participated by setting up donation pick-up sites where thousands of Japanese citizens donated their old electronic devices. According to the IOC approximately 78,985 tons of discarded devices were collected includes about 6.21 million used mobile phones, along with digital cameras, handheld games and laptops.
Tokyo 2020 games were the first to make all the medals out of recycled materials. However, this is not the first time Olympic medals have been made from recycled materials. According to IOC in 2016,the Rio Olympics awarded bronze and silver medals and medals for the 2019 Winter Olympics also featured recycled- content medals.
Organizers of the Tokyo Olympics have tried to minimize their environmental footprint by using not only recycled medals but also using lightweight recycled cardboard beds and mattresses for the athletes sleeping quarters, using autonomous electric cars to transport athletes around the Olympic village.
Faculty of Engineering
University of Peradeniya