Have you ever thought that medals can be made from recycling e-waste? This has been done in the Tokyo Olympics 2020 with proper management. The Olympics is the most influential and exciting sports community. Tokyo hosts this fantastic event that includes several athletes competing in various sports.
This year’s Olympics is full of stunning performances along with proper recycling. E-waste management projects have become a big success.
In the Tokyo Olympic 2020, winners are not the only ones capturing the podium. Medals are also captured. This year, medals given to every winner are designed from recycled electronic waste materials.
However, this is not the first time that medals were designed with recycled material. In the 2016 Rio Olympics also, silver and bronze medals were designed from recycled materials. But why is there a need to make medals from recycled material? How are they made? Scroll through the article and get all the answers to these questions.
What is e-waste?
E-waste includes any electronic product that is not working or near its end, like computers, mobile phones, etc. They include the waste that is not in working condition and is discarded into the garbage. E-waste is hazardous for the environment as it contains harmful chemicals that leach from the metals and cause a serious threat to environmental protection
. The challenge of disposing of this unwanted waste is not new, but a lot of change has come to their disposal like these wastes are taken into use to make medals.
2020 Tokyo medal project
Before the Olympics, the organizing committee decided to inculcate waste management and change the mindset. They desire to focus on the hazardous conditions occurring in the environment and develop great ideas.
The project aims to design every medal from recycled waste material. Recyclable e-waste materials, like mobile phones, laptops, and many other electronic components, were collected, and locals also helped make the project successful by donating their unused e-waste.
According to data, around 78,984 tons of e-waste material were collected and then processed to make medals. Around 32 kg gold, 3500 kg silver, and 2200 kg bronze are extracted from e-waste materials.
All these are designed into medals by the process of smelting. Organizers have done a great job in lowering the carbon footprint. And the campaign took a long time to finish, remaining in action for two years.
Why medals are designed out of waste
Technology has been rising at an alarming rate for the past few years, and all electronic devices like laptops, computers, and many more have become a crucial necessity for everyone in their daily lives.
People are using these electronic devices so much that e-waste is also increasing at an alarming rate. Only a tiny amount of e-waste is collected and recycled, and this e-waste includes bronze, silver, and gold.
E-waste is a hazardous problem, and it not only increases waste and its harmful substances accumulate in landfills, deteriorates the groundwater, and ultimately causes various diseases. So, to collect this waste, the organizers came up with the unique idea of creating every medal with e-waste material and contributing a lot to e-waste management.
How medals are made from Electronic waste
This concept came into action for proper waste management, and it seems to be a difficult task to design all medals from e-waste. But, the campaign seems to be successful with the contribution of the whole country. Metals extracted from this e-waste are collected for casting, and then used electronic devices are sent to contractors.
These contractors destroy the electronics, extract silver, gold, and bronze materials, and use them in the medal designing process. Workers properly refine the extracted materials to remove any impurity till pure material is achieved. It is fantastic to know that around 5,000 medals are designed from this process.
Apart from the medals, ribbons of medals are also designed with eco-friendly materials. Usage of non-toxic recycled Polyester fiber is done that generates a very small amount of carbon-di-oxide.
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Even the podiums are designed in an eco-friendly manner; around 98 podiums are designed with 3D print, and to design these podiums, around 1.5 million recycled plastic packagings are used. A very unique and eco-friendly idea!
Advantages of recycling e-waste
A considerable number of advantages are there to recycling e-waste, and it dramatically helps the environmental management system. Let’s have a quick view of these benefits.
- The primary benefit of recycling e-waste is that by teaching this activity, it is environmentally friendly. Recycling electronic devices significantly lower the risk of pollution and reduces energy consumption.
- It dramatically reduces ecological imbalance. For example, if you ever buy electronic devices, they come with less packaging and optimal energy efficiency. Moreover, recycling e-waste paves a path for creative solutions.
- Recycling e-waste creates more space in landfills, as their harmful components are separated, which causes fewer risks to the environment.
- Another tremendous advantage of recycling e-waste is that it increases the opportunity for people in urgent need of electronic gadgets.
- It dramatically helps save natural resources, as many natural resources are non-renewable, and with proper recycling, components are recovered.
To come up with this unique idea of e-waste management is very appreciated, and an eco-friendly tip has been set up in front of the whole world. Instead of producing more waste, think over the ways of recycling it, like recycling e-waste is done in the medal-making process. By doing so, your generated waste can be fruitful to others.
Hopefully, this creative campaign has encouraged others also to adopt this to live a sustainable life.
Frequently asked questions
Q1. From what Olympic medals are designed?
Olympic medals are designed from gold, silver, and bronze materials, but in the Tokyo Olympics, every medal is designed from material extracted from e-waste materials. A turning point in the Olympics and environmental history.
Q2. Why is electronic waste considered to be hazardous?
Electronic waste is a type of waste that includes many harmful chemicals that can cause serious threats to the environment and people. The harmful toxins leach into the soil and water and pollute it.
Q3. Why is there growth in electronic waste?
A straightforward question to answer, the primary cause of growth in e-waste is the short life of various electronic devices. After two years, people discard these electronic devices and shift to new ones.
Q4. Which country generates a high amount of e-waste?
Chile is one of the countries that has produced a considerable number of electronic waste during the past few years, and this has become a challenging situation for the environment and for the people of that country.