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Tokyo 2020 Medal Project Successfully Meets Its Targets To Create Medals Out Of Recycled Metal

By Chrös McDougall | Feb. 12, 2019, 12:01 a.m. (ET)


The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, and while they may be nearly 20 months away there’s a lot to learn on your quest to becoming the ultimate fan. Each Tuesday leading up to the Games, TeamUSA.org will present a nugget you should read about – from athletes to watch to storylines to follow to Japanese culture and landmarks – as part of “Tokyo 2020 Tuesday.” Follow along on social media with the hashtag #Tokyo2020Tuesday.


The medals handed out at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be gold, silver and bronze, and thanks to the people of Japan, those medals are well on their way to being green, too.

The Tokyo 2020 Medal Project, an initiative to manufacture the Olympic and Paralympic medals entirely out of recycled materials, asked the Japanese public to help create those medals by donating old or obsolete consumer electronics.

The response has been so strong that all the needed materials have now been collected, organizers announced earlier this month. Because of that, donations will no longer be accepted after March 31.

Under the slogan of “Be better, together — for the planet and the people,” the Tokyo Games set out to create the approximately 5,000 medals out of 100-percent recycled materials. That would be a first for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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To do so, the organizers turned to the public.

A drive began in April 2017 to collect recycled consumer electronics, such as cellular phones, digital camera and laptops, at drop-off locations throughout the country.

The people of Japan responded, and by June 2018 they had already donated all of the needed bronze to create those medals.

The other medals weren’t far behind. As of last October, the Medal Project had collected 93.7 percent of its gold target and 85.4 percent of its silver.

All of these raw materials have come from approximately 47,488 tons of discarded devices and 5 million used cell phones. 

Chrös McDougall has covered the Olympic movement for TeamUSA.org since 2009 on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc. He is based in Minneapolis-St. Paul.


A photo of the gold, silver and bronze medals from the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 on Sept. 25, 2017 in Park City, Utah.