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How the Olympics are Becoming Eco-Friendly in 2020

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are turning tradition on its head by opting to create medals out of recycled mobile phones, rather than the traditional gold, silver, and bronze.

Usually, the Olympics each year are remembered by the countries that win the highest amounts of gold, silver, and bronze medals. However, the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are going to be remembered for a completely different reason: going green.

The organizers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have thought of a bold idea in order to cut down the carbon footprint of one of the world’s largest biennial productions. Instead of awarding medals made out of the traditional gold, silver, and bronze, they will create medals out of recycled mobile phones to give out instead. While commenting on the concept, the Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi said, “There’s a limit on the resources of our earth, so recycling these things will make us think about the environment.”

Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi.
Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi.

Although Japan is not the first country to think of this idea, as thirty percent of the silver and bronze medals given at the Rio 2016 Olympics were made of recyclables. However, Japan will be recreating this idea on a much larger scale.

The organizers of the Olympics have put their plan into action by asking the Japanese public to donate any and all unwanted mobile phones or electronic items in hopes of collecting eight tonnes of metal, which should be enough to create at least 5,000 Olympic prizes. Citizens will be able to place their unwanted devices in local offices and telecoms stores in various locations across the country beginning in April.

Former American Olympian Ashton Eaton has already spoken out in support of the idea: “The best part is that each citizen has a chance to contribute to the story, to raise awareness about a sustainable future and to make a unique contribution… And, most excitingly, they have a chance to be part of the Olympic journey.”

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