News


2017-03-30

Old phones find their calling as metal for Tokyo Olympics medals
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN March 29, 2017



An Olympic medal handed out at Rio de Janeiro in 2016
If you think your old cellphones gathering dust in drawers are useless in these smartphone-dominated days, think again, because those devices could become part of Olympics historyRecycled metals from discarded mobile phones, digital cameras and computers will be used to create the medals for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in an Olympics organizing committee projectMobile phone carrier NTT Docomo Inc. will begin collecting old mobile phones at its Docomo shops around Japan from April 1Prefectural governments will also begin collecting used computers and digital cameras from early AprilThe idea of using recycled metals in Olympic medals is not new. A part of those handed out at the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games were made of recycled metalsHowever, the Tokyo organizing committee's plan involves having almost all of the materials used for the medals made up of recycled metalsThe committee is considering a plan to allow donors to follow the process behind the manufacture of the Olympic medals from recycled metals by passing out cards containing Quick Response (QR) bar codes that can be read to move to the site where the manufacturing process is explainedAround 5,000 medals containing about two tons of metal will be awarded at Tokyo 2020, including 10 kilograms of gold, 1,230 kg of silver and 736 kg of bronzeHowever, because some metal is lost during the manufacturing process, about eight tons will be needed in total to create all the medalsrn