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The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Medals are…recycled?

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Medals are…recycled?

Well, we’re exactly one year away from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and as the saying goes, one man’s junk is another man’s trophy. Yes, it’s not linguistically correct, but it is appropriate. Why? Because all the medals are made up of recycled gadgets this time.

No way!

Oh, yes way.

Fine. We’ll concede that you can’t really tell from here. But anyway, here’s how this quirky idea came to be.

As we all know, Olympic medals are not mere metallic trinkets you can buy off the shelf. The gold medal contains real gold, the silver contains silver, and the bronze medal contains, well…bronze. Point being, you need the actual metals to create them. As such, back in 2017, the Japanese government launched a campaign with the aim of collecting used electronics and gadgets from the community, from which they could slowly harvest these precious metals.

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Over the next two years, they collected around 32kg of gold, 3,500kg of silver and 2,200kg of bronze from 78,895 TONS of electronic waste. The designs were the work of Junichi Kawanishi, who beat over 400 other professional designers and students for the opportunity.

Oh, and just in case you’re interested, here are each medal’s compositions:

Dimensions: 85mm in diameter, 7.7mm at thinnest and 12.1mm at thickest.
Gold Medal: made of ~6g gold plating on pure silver
Silver Medal: made of pure silver (exact quantity not announced)
Bronze Medal: made of red-brass alloy (up to 95% copper and 5% zinc)


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