Japan nears e-waste goal for making Tokyo 2020 Olympics medals

Pablo Tucker
February 10, 2019

The last time Tokyo hosted the Olympics was in 1964.

The decision to launch the new fund is widely seen as a softening of the elite sport body's "no compromise" approach, under which only sports with an expectation of winning a medal at Olympic or Paralympic Games receive support. Almost 50,000 tons of devices, including cameras, games consoles and laptops, plus more than five million smartphones, were collected for the Old Metals New Medals project across Japan over 18 months since it opened.

There was "huge levels of support from the public and companies across Japan and from national and worldwide athletes", said the committee.

A general view of the construction site of Athletes' Village for Tokyo 2020 Olympic games, which will serve as residential apartments after the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, September 27, 2018.

Collection centers were set up across 1,594 municipalities, where around 47,488 tons of discarded gadgetry were dumped as of November a year ago.

Smartphones, cameras, laptops and other small electronic devices which reached the end of their lifetime were donated by enthusiastic Japanese residents across the country, helping to amass enough of the metal required to produce the medals for the Games. In October, 28.4 kilograms of gold (93.7 percent of the targeted 30.3 kilograms goal) and 3,500 kilograms of silver (85.4 percent of the targeted 4,100 kilograms goal) were sourced from recycled electronics. In October previous year, they already had 30.3kg kg of gold and 4 100kg of silver, with them reaching their bronze target in June already (2 700kg).

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