2020 Olympics Medals Will Be Made From Gold Recycled From Old Smartphones

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2020 Olympics Medals Will Be Made From Gold Recycled From Old Smartphones

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Olympics is a long-running athletic event which is over a century old. The event is generally believed to be the pinnacle of all sporting events and hosts a myriad of different competitions that have the worlds best athletes compete against each other whilst representing their respective nations. In the event, the contestants strive to show the result of their years of hard training in front of a global audience. The top honour for the event is the legendary gold medal. Surprisingly, for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, these prestigious badges will be made from precious metals recovered from recycled smartphones.


Smartphones are known to house over hundreds of tiny components. By its extension, those small but crucial parts are sometimes made of rare and expensive materials. Silver, bronze and even gold are materials that can be found in almost every device nowadays. Hence, programmes have surfaced worldwide for the recycling of electronic waste products with Apple being a notable name.


How They Were Made

The Tokyo 2020 organizing committee had started a two-year campaign to collect donated electronic devices from its citizens back in April 2017. It was undertaken to harvest the required metals. Over 78,895 tons of gadgets were received in total which included over 6.21 million smartphones. The end result saw an extraction of 32kg of gold, 3,500kg of silver and 2,200kg of bronze. 2020 Olympics organizing committee has revealed the designs of the medals one year prior to the actual event. The badge was designed by a person who won a competition that had entries from more than 400 professional designers and design students. 

Olympic Medals

The Olympics’ medals that will be handed out to its first, second and third place winners are gold, silver and bronze respectively. The medals are 85mm in diameter and measure 7.7mm at their thinnest and 12.1 mm at their thickest. Gold medals use more than 6 grams of gold plating on pure silver, while the silver medals are made from pure silver. On the other hand, bronze medals are made from a red brass alloy consisting of 95% copper and 5% zinc.


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Olympics 2020 will begin from 24th July in Tokyo till 9th August and would have multiple countries send their best athletes to compete for top honours. For those wondering why stores still buy obsolete, old or broken phones, its to recycle its components or sell it for the small amounts of rare materials they carry. So if you are in possession of such an old device, cherish the treasure it holds within.

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Vikhyaat Vivek
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