Tokyo 2020 Medal Project To Turn Scrap Metal Into Precious Olympic, Paralympic Medals

By Todd Kortemeier | Oct. 30, 2018, 12:01 a.m. (ET)

 

The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 run July 24-Aug. 9, 2020, and while they may be two years 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.


Gold, silver and bronze are the colors every athlete will be striving for at the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Those who receive a medal will also be getting something green, as the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project has the goal of making all 5,000 medals out of 100-percent recycled materials for the first time in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Most of those materials will come from small consumer electronics, such as cellular phones. The donors of these materials will be the people of Japan, who have collected more than 34,000 tons of material since the collection drive began April 2017.

 

Medals for the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 are unveiled on Sept. 21, 2017 in Seoul, South Korea. 

 

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More than 4 million cell phones are included in that mass, which people can drop off at locations throughout the country. The electronics are then processed and the precious metals extracted. All needed bronze has already been collected, while gold and silver are about halfway to their targets.

The project is expected to continue into the spring.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.