When the world’s best athletes take the podium at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, they’ll be wearing old electronics around their necks.
Back in 2017, the Olympic organizers announced a plan to make the games’ gold, silver, and bronze metals out of recycled electronics including laptops, cell phones, and other devices. They aimed to harvest 67 pounds of gold, 9,039 pounds of silver, and 5,592 pounds of bronze. According to the BBC, the committee is on track to reach its goal by March.
People have been donating their old electronics for more than a year now, resulting in the collection of more than 48,000 tons of electronic waste. After a smelting process that extracts the metal from ore, the material be molded into a design that’s due to be released later this year.
Considering humans produce more than an estimated 44.7 million metric tonnes of e-waste every year, making 5,000 medals out of recycled material is realistically a drop in the bucket, but the symbolism speaks volumes nonetheless. Check out this project update on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics site for more information.