However, the recently concluded 2016 Rio Olympics set a new trend by ensuring that at least 30 per cent of silver and bronze medals were made out of recycled metal.
But now, it is learned that Japan is all set to totally do away with this tradition in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. The organisers will ask the Japanese public to donate old mobile phones and appliances to gather two tonnes of gold, silver and bronze for the 5,000 required medals.
The project is aimed at cost reduction and increasing sustainability in a country like Japan, which greatly lacks natural resources. Sports director of Tokyo 2020, Koji Murofushi, said, "A project that allows the people of Japan to take part in creating the medals is really good. There's a limit on the resources of our Earth, so recycling these things will make us think about the environment."
From April onwards, collection boxes will be placed in offices and telecoms stores and would remain there until the requirement of all the metal is met.
Members of the Japan's Olympic organising committee had tabled this idea to the government in 2016.
Discarded consumer electronics such as smartphones and tablets contain precious and rare metals like platinum, palladium, gold, silver, lithium, cobalt and nickel in small amounts.
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