Tokyo 2020: your cell phone could be part of the prize

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The idea aims to create medals from Japanese electronic waste

Tokyo 2020: your cell phone could be part of the prize

As part of an initiative of the Olympic Committee, the Ministry of Industry and the Japanese Government, Tokyo 2020 medals will be made of small electronic home appliances.

Leer en español: Tokyo 2020: tus celulares serán el premio

The idea aims to manufacture gold, silver and bronze medals in the next Olympic Games, from Japanese electronic waste, including millions of smartphones, computers and other small discarded electronic objects.

According to the studies submitted for the idea, the huge and worrying amount of electronic waste contains enough precious metals to produce all the medals that will be used in the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games, that are going to be in two years in Japan’s capital.

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Everyone can participate

As is well known, electronic waste is highly toxic and is the fastest growing domestic waste in the world.

In fact, according to UN data, the world generated 44.7 million tons of e-waste in 2016, a figure that grows between 3% and 4% annually.

According to Asian Review, every year in Japan about 650,000 tons of portable electronics and appliances are discarded each year, of which less than 100,000 are collected and recycled correctly.

The organizing committee of Tokyo 2020 saw this opportunity and invited citizens to donate their phones and other devices in disuse, according to the newspaper Semana. Thus, households can dispose of obsolete electronic devices safely and manufacturers obtain their resources.

"This initiative represents an opportunity for people from all over the country to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Games," said Masa Takaya, spokesman for Tokyo 2020.

It is known that, since the project was launched in April, 16.5 kilograms of gold and 1,800 kilograms of silver have been recovered. For its part, the goal for bronze, 2,700 kilograms, has already been achieved.

Read also: "It makes me sick to breathe": health and air pollution

How do we consume technology?

"We must change the way we understand electronics. One way is to stop buying and own devices. It is not about becoming analogical hermits but about digital nomads. Instead of buying the phone itself, why do not we consider buying the services they provide? ", says Maria Holuszko, assistant professor at British Columbia University.

It is hoped that thanks to this new project, there will be an increase in environmental awareness and the amount of electronic waste collected and recycled.


LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez

Translated from: 'Tokyo 2020: tus celulares serán el premio'

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