Japan, the host of the 2020 Olympics Games , decided to produce the medals for the games from old mobile phones. The purpose behind this decision is to support recycling, raise awareness and optimize the rising budget of the organization. Ok, but how is it possible to produce gold, silver and bronze medals from a mobile phone?
Our mobile phones contain precious metals like gold and silver. Of course the amount of those metals is low in one single phone, but when you think about tons of them, you will reach a conclusion. In Japan, last 3 years, the mobile phones which have to go to the recycle process, contain 143 kg of gold, 1.566 kg silver and 1.112 tons of copper. Are these numbers enough to produce enough medals for 2020 Olympic Games? For the answer, we better look to 2012 Olympic Games.
Approximately 2 tons of gold, silver, and copper is enough to produce medals in the Olympics Games
In the 2012 London Olympics, they used about 2 tons of gold, silver and copper metals to produce all medals for the organization. In details; 9.6 kg of it was gold, 1.210 kg silver and 710 kg of it was copper. %30 of the material was produced from recycled materials but not from phones. So we can say that the medals of the Japan 2020 Olympics Games will be the first in the world.
Target is to collect 8 tons of mobile phones for 5.000 thousand medals
According to the Japanese authorities, enough number of mobile phones for producing 5.000 thousand medals is 8 tons. So they started a campaign for collecting old phones and they put recycle boxes all around the country, waiting for the public donation.
Latest news about the campaign
After the campaign has started, in a very short time, they reached huge numbers in Japan. Between April 2017 and October 2018, approx. 5.07 million used mobile phones was collected. And you can see the current percentages here;
Why are precious metals used in mobile phones?
Because gold is the fastest conductive, it is being used in many electronic devices’ chips and mainboards. The conduction between mainboard and the chip is also made by silver and copper. This is why our mobile phones contain precious metals.