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Winning gold for the environment


10 August 2019 at 12:00 pm
Maggie Coggan
A year out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the official organising committee has revealed its medal designs with a sustainable twist – all medals will be made entirely from recycled mobile phone parts. 


Maggie Coggan | 10 August 2019 at 12:00 pm


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Winning gold for the environment
10 August 2019 at 12:00 pm

A year out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the official organising committee has revealed its medal designs with a sustainable twist – all medals will be made entirely from recycled mobile phone parts. 

Launched in 2017, the Tokyo Medal Project encouraged the public to donate small electronic devices such as used mobile phones to produce the Olympic and Paralympic medals. 

Across Japan, 90 per cent of towns and cities participated in the project, donating nearly 80,000 tons of gadgets, including six million mobile phones. 

Around 32 kg of gold, 3,500 kg of silver and 2,200 kg of bronze was extracted from the donations for the 5,000 medals needed.   

https://twitter.com/Tokyo2020/status/1153913570561687553

Every single medal awarded to athletes during the Tokyo Games will be made from recycled materials. 

The committee said they hoped this would set a sustainable precedent in the years to come.  

“We hope that our project to recycle small consumer electronics and our efforts to contribute to an environmentally friendly and sustainable society will become a legacy of the Tokyo 2020 Games,” a committee spokesperson said.  

The medals were designed by Junichi Kawanishi, who was selected from over 400 professional designers and design students. 

Kawanishi said his medals resemble rough stones that have been polished and which now shine, reflecting the athlete’s journey from beginner to Olympic champion.

The games begin on 24 July 2020, running until 9 August 2020. 


Maggie Coggan  |  Journalist  |  @MaggieCoggan

Maggie Coggan is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

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