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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

2020 Tokyo Olympic Medals To Include Recycled Materials

In what is a revolutionary idea whose time has come (actually, it had come decades ago), is the manufacture of the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics to include discarded or obsolete electronic devices.

And… the Tokyo organizing committee wants the help of its citizens to help.

Actually… it’s a bit more interesting than how I laid that out.

The Tokyo Olympic Committee is asking the Japanese population to provide the precious metals of gold, silver and bronze themselves…

Wait what?

Yes… from their private citizenry, the Tokyo Olympic Committee wants to collect eight tons of metal:

  • 40 kilograms of gold;
  • 4,920 kilograms of silver;
  • 2,944 kilograms of bronze.
(Excessive bowing)
"Can we have your gold?”
“Eh, my what?
“Gold! Kin!… you know… that stuff in tooth fillings.”
“But I’m not done with it.”
“Come on sir, don’t muck us about!”
“What’s this then?”
“My 2020 Tokyo Olympic button I received in the mail. Everyone got one.”
“That’s right… they did. And did you read the small print on the pack of the button? It says you will give us all your gold when we ask for it.”
(Screaming as teeth are extracted without anesthetic! anesthetic!)

But here’s the kicker… these collected metals will be coming from old, discarded electronics, as I mentioned above.

Phones, computers and such all contain gold, silver and bronze… a fact I actually learned on an episode of the new MacGyver television show earlier this year.

After taking the eight tones of waste electronics products and processing them, it is figured they will have enough metal to produce the 5,000 Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic medals required.

I’m assuming that means that in every medal worn around an Olympic winner, a bit of material that once watched Japanese tentacle porn will exist.

Yeah… think about that.

So… what sort of products have gold in them?

There's gold in them that small printed circuit boards on remote controls, stereo amplifiers and receivers, VCRs, CD players and DVD players.

And, “breaker, breaker good buddy, this is Mr. Snuffleupagus…” old CD devices, ham radios and shortwave radios also have gold in them… but I’ll assume that isn’t a huge cache in Japan - anymore.

Did you know that old smoke detectors had gold in them?

Cell phones have gold connectors. Automobile anti-lock brakes and airbag inflation systems have chips that contain gold. Some heat insulators in cars have gold, too. Old Televisions, cameras, printers, high-end CDs (not just the players) have gold in the reflective layers.

Silver can be found in switches, ceramic capacitors, conductive adhesives, contacts, and via silvered film in heated car windshields. Also in DVDs, cell phones, plasma TV's, personal computers and laptops… and much more.

I’m not sure about bronze… I don’t think anything electronic uses bronze as an item… but I do know that bronze is an alloy made via 88% copper + 12% tin…

I suppose that many of the above mentioned objects have plenty of copper and tin in them so it only has to be combined to create bronze. Copper is an excellent conductor.   

Anyhow… as of April 4, 2017, some 2,400 NTT DOCOMO stores are being set up this April—as well as a bunch of public works offices throughout Japan—to collect the waste electronics until the target of eight tones is reached.

Unless of course the announcement set off a gold rush by unscrupulous miners looking to plumb the wastelands of Japanese junkyards in order to capture enough gold themselves.

Hopefully no one is thinking of exploiting the devices found all over the Fukushima no-go zone…

Why go use recycled materials to make the medals? 

Well… Tokyo 2020’s Olympic Committee set forth a few goals, including: engaging the entire country to become a part of the Olympic Games. Check.

Another goal was ensure “sustainability” was integrated into all aspects of the planning and execution of the Games. Check, again.

I would have assumed that could simply have meant recycling all the paper waste pre- and post-Olympics… but sure… using old electronics parts to get enough precious metal to smelt your own gold, silver and bronze into medals that some of us will be lucky enough to bid on via E-bay… well… that’s just magic.

(You can click HERE to read about four athletes who sold their Olympic medals.)

Kudos to Japan for their initiative to mine the scrap heaps for metals for the medals.

Andrew Joseph
PS: Kudos is you saw my homage to Monty Python in there.
And remember… you’re all individuals.
I’m not.
PPS: I found the image of the cellphones coming off the garbage truck HERE.

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