Being one of the largest and most loved sporting events in the world, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in recent years made the decision for sustainable development to become a major priority for future games.

The Tokyo Olympic games which were first scheduled for 2020 but completed in 2021 are focused on sustainability in several ways, with the organisers pledging to “deliver sustainable Games and showcase solution models of global sustainability challenges to people in Japan and around the world”.

The Tokyo Olympic Games Medals on public display in a glass case
Tokyo Olympic Medal Public Display

The podiums for medalists, the Olympic torch, the beds for athletes and even the T-shirts and trousers worn by the torch relay torchbearers were made from recycled materials.

Along with these initiatives, the materials used for the manufacturing of the Olympic Medals came completely from discarded consumer products, in this case supplied by the people of the host country Japan. The medals for the Games are made entirely from 78,985 tons of recycled electronics. That figure includes 6.21 million recycled mobile phones from Japanese citizens.

The collection process began in April of 2017, when the collection of mobile phones commenced. Approximately 94% of the municipalities in Japan (1,621 out of 1,719) participated in donating of old mobile phones.

After collecting the phones, the recycling process started which included dismantling and sorting through all the various and numerous types of materials. From there, the separate materials were smelted and refined until they became usable metals for the medals. In total, the collection process collected 30.3kg of gold, 4,100kg of silver and 2,700kg of bronze.

Tokyo Olympics Medal design Video

Download a free Olympic Rings resource for your Technical Drawing / Graphics class. Follow the link below.

Olympic Rings Technical Drawing/Graphics Activity