The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Medals Are Made From Electronic Waste

“Tokyo 2020 Medal Project” was organized by the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) to collect small electronic devices such as old mobile phones from all over Japan to produce the Olympic and Paralympic medals.

The team began collecting metal waste in April 2017 and have gathered over 78,000 tons of discarded electronics including 6 million used mobile phones. 100 per cent of the metals required to manufacture gold, silver, and bronze medals have been extracted from these devices that were collected from people all over the country. Each medal is made from recycled metals and they hope their efforts to help the environment will become a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

As for the Olympic medal design, the team held a competition open to professional designers and design students, garnering over 400 entries. The winning design was created by Japanese design director Junichi Kawanishi.

“The design of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic medals reflects the concept that in order to achieve glory, athletes have to strive for victory on a daily basis. The medals resemble rough stones that have been polished and which now shine, with “light” and “brilliance” their overall themes,” Tokyo 2020 shared.

“The medals collect and reflect myriad patterns of light, symbolising the energy of the athletes and those who support them; their design is intended to symbolise diversity and represent a world where people who compete in sports and work hard are honoured. The brilliance of the medals’ reflections signifies the warm glow of friendship depicted by people all over the world holding hands.”