151005tokyo2100619509orig100696707orig

Tokyo wants to make Olympic medals from old smartphones

Japan will kick off a drive this week to collect old smartphones and other portable gadgets so that they can be turned into medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.

The project will be launched on Thursday by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government with a goal of collecting up to 2 million used devices to recycle.

Gadgets like smartphones contain small amounts of precious metals in their chips and circuit boards. The quantities are tiny but they're valuable enough to make recovery worth the expense.

In the case of a smartphone, there's about 0.048 grams of gold, 0.26 grams of silver, and 12.7 grams of bronze. To make the roughly 5,000 medals that will be awarded in 2020, organizers will need 10 kilograms of gold, 1,230kg of silver, and 736kg of bronze. (The amount of gold is much less because those medals are plated and not solid gold).

The campaign is asking citizens to turn in used smartphones, digital cameras, video cameras, audio players, portable game devices, remote controls, electronic calculators, GPS units, and AC power adapters.

While the project will begin small with a single collection point at a convenience store in the Metropolitan Government building, it will go national in April when consumers will be able to donate used gadgets at 2,400 shops of mobile phone carrier NTT DoCoMo.

IDG Insider

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

« The Humble Freedom Bundle packages over 30 of the best indie games together for $30

NEXT ARTICLE

Get ready to grab your Google I/O tickets »
author_image
IDG News Service

The IDG News Service is the world's leading daily source of global IT news, commentary and editorial resources. The News Service distributes content to IDG's more than 300 IT publications in more than 60 countries.

  • Mail

Poll

Do you think your smartphone is making you a workaholic?