The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games is shaping up to be one of the greenest ever with renewable energy sources and recyclable materials featuring heavily across the organising committee’s sustainability plans. This includes using recycled electronics to manufacture all of the medals to be awarded.

With a sustainability concept of “Be better, together – For the planet and the people”, Tokyo 2020 is committed to making sure the legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games will be passed on to future Games and various activities and initiatives throughout Japan and the world.

Games medals to be 100 percent sustainable

Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions will be awarded the first sustainable medals ever produced in Olympic history! The metals content will be 100 percent from recycled electronics.

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games has reached its target of collecting precious metal to manufacture Games medals — thanks to generous support from people and communities across Japan.

Five thousand Tokyo 2020 medals are expected to be produced for next year’s Games — all manufactured from gold, silver and bronze collected and recycled from mobile phones and other small electronic devices donated by the public.

Engaging communities

The upcoming Olympic and Paralympic medals are the result of a huge community effort.

The campaign garnered an overwhelming response since its launch, with everyone from local communities to Tokyo 2020 partners supporting the nationwide collection.

The first of its kind in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, this initiative will help people across Japan and the rest of the world share in the success of the world’s top athletes.

From the sports side, athletes from Japan and abroad called for action and donated their own used devices.

In the two years between April 2017 and March 2019, 100 percent of the metals required to manufacture the approximately 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals were extracted from recycled electronic devices contributed by people from all over Japan. Every single medal to be awarded to athletes during the Tokyo 2020 Games is made from recycled metals. We are grateful for everyone’s cooperation on this project. We hope that our project of recycling small consumer electronics and our efforts to contribute to an environmentally-friendly and sustainable society will form part of the legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Project in numbers

Collection period

From 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019

Amount of devices collected

Approx. 78,985 tons collected by municipal authorities across Japan (used small electronic devices including mobile phones)
Approx. 6.21 million used mobile phones collected by NTT Docomo shops across Japan

Final amount of metals collected

Gold: Approx. 32kg
Silver: Approx. 3,500kg
Bronze: Approx. 2,200kg

Participating municipalities

1,621 municipalities
90% of the 1,741 wards/cities/towns/villages nationwide participated

The Tokyo 2020 Recycled Electronics Medal Project

Every single medal that will be awarded to athletes during Tokyo 2020 (now 2021?) has been made entirely from recycled metals. Approximately 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals were extracted from 78,985 tons of small electronic devices donated to local authorities and 6.21 million mobile phones were collected by NTT Docomo shops. This is the first time in Olympic and Paralympic history that this type of project has been attempted, as Rio 2016 and Vancouver 2010 only partly used recycled electronics devices to manufacture medals.

Sources: Extracted from articles published on the official Tokyo Olympic Games website (various dates).

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