Could technology be the key to Tokyo 2020 medals?

With 16% of the world’s gold and 22% of the planet’s silver currently sitting inside discarded technology across Japan, and the Tokyo Olympic Games in just 4 years, just how can the country recycle this for future use? Well, within Olympic medals of course.

Whether we recycle our old gadgets or they end up in landfill, we don’t often think about the components that are used to make them. Surprisingly gold, silver and copper are frequently used within our favourite devices, and this coupled with a huge amount of discarded technology within Japan gives the ideal solution to an outstanding problem – and it could assist in creating the most iconic Olympic medals yet.

To put a little bit of perspective on the situation, at the London Olympic Games 9.6kg of gold, 1,210kg of silver and 700kg of copper was used to make the Olympic medals.

In comparison, in 2014 Japan discarded 143kg of gold, 1,566kg of silver and 1,112 tons of copper through unwanted technology and gadgets. It’s clear to see that this could very easily become a resolution for such a large amount of material wastage.

Whilst the concept is still in its early stages, and in fact Japanese firms are currently being asked to pitch for a recycling scheme that could enable such an idea, it could add an extra element to the games and heighten the interest around it before it’s even begun.

Wouldn’t you be proud to know that your donated iPhone 4, Blackberry or Android now forms part of an Olympic gold medal now being awarded to your countries most iconic athletes? I would imagine that would be appealing to many.

However, with a vast quantity of discarded metals and materials currently being recycled in to new technology within Japan – would citizens be prepared to cut back their technology investments for the cause?

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