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Since 2017, the ‘Tokyo 2020 Medal Project’ initiative has collected around 6.21 million used cell phones. These used phones formed part of the 79 tons of electronic waste used to make the medals handed out at the current 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The public, as well as private companies, were invited to participate in the initiative.

According to the International Olympic Committee, electronic waste items collected included cell phones, digital cameras, handheld games and laptops.

These items were classified, dismantled and melted down by highly-trained specialists.  

According to Business Insider, a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics contains just 1.2% gold while the rest of the medal is made of silver.

Only the silver medal is made entirely of its namesake. The bronze medal contains mostly copper.

While 30% of the silver medals handed out at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil came from recycled silver from car parts and mirrors, this is the first time in the history of the summer Olympic Games that all 5 000 medals have been made entirely out of recycled metal.

Image credit: Smithsonian Magazine

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