The Tokyo 2020 Medal Project was launched back in 2017 as an attempt to collect old electronic devices from across Japan and use them to create the medals for the forthcoming Olympic games. Over the last two years, the campaign received a staggering amount of donations—over 6 million mobile phones alone—and, as a result, Tokyo 2020 just announced that every gold, silver, and bronze Olympic and Paralympic medal awarded next year will be made entirely from the recycled materials.
All in all the donations added up to 78,985 tons of old electronic devices from which 66.8 pounds of gold, 9,039 pounds of silver, and 5,952 pounds of bronze have been extracted. A similar strategy was used in the 2010 Vancouver games, though not on this scale.
“We hope that our project to recycle small consumer electronics and our efforts to contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable society will become a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games,” the committee said.
In addition to the medals, Tokyo 2020 award ceremony podiums will be made of recycled plastic and the torchbearer uniforms will be partially made of plastic bottles, according to Mashable.
The design of the medals is being helmed by Junichi Kawanishi, who won a competition that drew over 400 entries. They will “resemble rough stones that have been repeatedly polished and now shine brightly, reflecting the athlete’s journey from beginner to Olympic champion.”