Your Smartphones Could End Up as an Olympic Medal

The buzz around the Tokya Olympics has begun, four years before its commencement. An announcement was made: future Olympic medals will be made out of gold, silver and bronze found in old cell phones and other used electronics devices.

As a matter of fact, the awards don’t require much metal and Japan has enough e-waste to produce them. A gold medal in Rio was made of about one pound of silver and 0.01 pounds of gold, according to NBC Montana.

In 2014, Japan was able to recover about 3,452 pounds of silver from small consumer electronics that had been discarded. Using e-waste will help keep these toxic products out of landfills.

Electronics are often just illegally sent off to developing countries to deteriorate in landfills, waterways or public spaces, The Huffington Post reported in May.

A non-profit organisation, GENKI Net for Creating a Sustainable Society organized a meeting in June for government leaders, event organizers and tech companies in Tokyo to begin formulating a plan for crafting the eco-friendly medals.

About 650,000 tons of small electronics and electric home appliances are thrown out every year in Japan and only a small part of that is recycled.

E-waste disposal is only going to become a major problems as the world’s reliance on technology grows, experts point out.

Advocates say part of the issue is a lack of awareness surrounding the problem.

Valentino Bellini, photographer in an e-waste campaign to The Huffington Post

If people would be more conscious about where their electronic trash would finish and in which way they are affecting others, poorest peoples’ lives, I think they would act more carefully.

(Source: The Huffington Post)