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(Pocket-lint) - The Tokyo 2020 Games is recycling old phones for medals.

Three-time Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Kohei Uchimura has told The Japan Times that Olympic organisers decided to forge Olympic and Paralympic medals for the Tokyo 2020 Games using recycled mobile phones. The old phones will come from the Japanese public, which has been asked to donate them or any other small appliances so the Olympics can gather two tonnes of gold, silver, and bronze.


Members of the Olympic organising committee first introduced the idea last year, as electronics like phones and tablets contain small amounts of rare metals. About 5,000 medals will be made using the Earth metals, in an effort to promote sustainability and reduce costs. Thousands of collection boxes will be available at local offices and telecoms stores from April. They'll be out until enough metal has been collected.

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Discarded gadgets not only contain gold and silver, but also platinum, palladium, lithium, cobalt, and nickel. Scrap cars and home appliances like air conditioners also contain these precious metals and other base metals like iron, copper, lead, and zinc. Refining companies will need to use chemical processes to separate the metals from one another.

The 2010 Olympics in Vancouver also gave away medals built from recycled circuit boards, but Tokyo 2020 will be the first Olympic games to make every gold medal from recycled materials.

Writing by Elyse Betters.