The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tokyo 2020) on Saturday 1 April commenced the nationwide collection of discarded and obsolete electronic devices, including smartphones, digital cameras, handheld games and laptops, in order to use the metal they contain in the production of the medals that will be awarded to athletes at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
This project aims to engage the whole Japanese nation and will offer everyone the opportunity to play a role in the Games' preparations, while drawing public attention to the importance of sustainability. More than 2,400 NTT DOCOMO stores and 350 local government offices in every prefecture of Japan will act as collection centres for discarded electronic devices.
Donors will receive special cards with a machine-readable QR code that will enable them to follow the creation process of the Games' medals from recovery of the metal through to design and production.
The Organising Committee aims to collect as much as eight tons of raw metal - around 40 kg of gold, 4,900 kg of silver and 2,900 kg of bronze - which following the production process will yield around two tons of pure metal, enough to produce 5,000 medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
A launch event took place on the 1st of April at the NTT DOCOMO store in Otemachi, one of the central districts of Tokyo, with Olympians Takeshi Matsuda and Paralympian Takuro Yamada attending. It's a great project that turns your old unused phones into athletes' treasured medals. The phones will just be left at home otherwise. I'm glad that by participating in this project, anyone can take part in the Games. In this way, the medals become memorable for everyone, not just for the athletes, said Matsuda, a four-time Olympic swimming medallist.
Rio Paralympic swimming bronze medallist Takuro Yamada commented: For all athletes, the Olympic and Paralympic medals are something very special. Mobile phones are also filled with people's thoughts and memories. Tokyo 2020 Games' medals will be even more meaningful for those who receive them, because they will be filled with people's thoughts and hearts.
The collection initiative will end in spring 2019, or as soon as the 8-ton collection target is reached.