Olympic medals to be made from recycled mobiles

The public are being asked to donate phones for the project ahead of Tokyo 2020

Annalise Murphy holding the silver medal she won at the Rio Olympics.

Brian Lawless PA Wire/PA Images

Olympic and Paralympic medals are to be made from recycled mobile phones for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

In an effort to promote sustainability and save costs on staging the event, the Japanese public are being asked to donate old mobile phones and other appliances as part of the project.

The organising committee is hoping to use the donated items to gather eight tonnes of metal for the 5,000 medals required at the next Olympics.

The budget for Tokyo 2020 is reported to have exceeded $35bn at one point, and was subsequently reduced to less than $21bn last year.

It's also hoped that this project will create a sense of direct participation among the public in preparing for the Olympics.

Speaking about the initiative, Tokyo 2020 Sports Director Koji Murofushi said:

"There's quite a limit on the resources of our earth, and so recycling these things and giving them a new use will make us all think about the environment.

"It will become quite a big memory for children, who think that something they gave may have been part of creating those medals."

The collection begins in April, with designated boxes to be made available in local offices and telecom stores. The public will be able to continue donating their phones and appliances until all the metal has been gathered.

Recycled metals have been reportedly used to assemble medals for previous Olympic Games, including Rio 2016, where the silver and bronze medals were 30 per cent made from recycled materials.