Precious Metals

2020 Tokyo Olympics medals to be fabricated from reclaimed metals

Medals for the 2020 Summer Olympics and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will be struck on planchets fabricated from recycled metals reclaimed from cell phones and other small electronic devices.

The Silver Institute reports that Japan’s Olympic planning committee initiated the e-waste collection project in 2017. Collection boxes were placed in more than 2,400 NTT Docomo phone stores as well as at other outlets in the host country.

The effort reached its goal of 9,000 pounds of silver, 67 pounds of gold and 6,000 pounds of bronze.

According to the Silver Institute, $3 million worth of metals were recovered from more than 5 million donated phones and other electronic devices.

A typical cell phone contains 90 milligrams of silver, 36 milligrams of gold, 0.7 gram of tin and 6 grams of copper.

As to the number of medals possible, at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, games, more than 900 medals were awarded.

Gold and silver medals are made of .925 fine silver, and the gold medals are plated with at least 6 grams of gold. The bronze medals are composed of copper and tin. All medals must be at least 3 millimeters thick and measure at least 60 millimeters in diameter.

Japan last hosted the Summer Games in 1964, in Tokyo. The nation had been selected to host the 1940 Games but was stripped of that honor in favor of Helsinki, Finland, after Japan invaded China. The 1940 games were ultimately canceled because of World War II.

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