Japan considering medals made of e-waste for 2020 games

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The winners’ medals for the Japan Olympics 2020 could be made from recycled e-waste metals

The hosts of the Olympics 2020 are considering forging the winners’ medals from the recyclable metals found in electronic waste.

The idea is that of the Japanese Olympic organising committee, but the proposal can not go ahead without the seal of approval from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Japanese Government and official partners of the Japan Olympics 2020.

However, in a world where the global waste issue is beginning to take a foremost position, one can not imagine the IOC or the Government turning their noses up at the pioneering idea.

Japan considering e-waste metals for 2020 Olympic medals

The gold for Olympic medals usually comes from mining

The IOC does have strict regulations in place for how the metal for the Olympic medals should be sourced. The gold for the Rio Olympics top medals was sourced without the use of mercury, for example, and a significant amount of bronze and silver was recycled for the 2nd and 3rd place awards.

The IOC states that a gold medal must contain at least 6 grams of the precious metal. The medals handed out to the winning athletes in Rio were 500g in total; the heaviest medals yet at an Olympics.

However, Japan would be the first host nation to use 100% recycled metals. The Japanese Olympic organising committee wants to use the precious metals found in electronic devices, including mobile phones, tablets, laptops and even fridges and air conditioners.

The problem is that Japan is a nation short on natural mineral resources, however, even if they took the e-waste recycling option, the likelihood is that they would have to import tonnes of e-waste from abroad to make up the amounts they would need to forge over 5,000 medals, despite Japan being one of the leading recycling nations in Asia.

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