Original story: http://www.bbc.com/sport/olympics/38827701
We were really excited to hear that Olympic medals for the Japan Games 2020 are being crafted from upcycled e-waste!
Just one of the many ways we can give new life to materials already mined, this application has attracted lots of attention. As Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi says, “There’s a limit on the resources of our earth, so recycling these things will make us think about the environment.”
To complete the task of collecting the two thousand tonnes of equipment from which the gold, silver and bronze necessary for the 5,000 medals will be extracted, organizers will look to the public to donate old phones and other small appliances. At previous Olympics, organizers have obtained medal materials from mining firms.
Another cool perk? Those medals you see on your favorite Olympians might even contain a piece of your old cell phone. What a great way to get involved!
Here at ERA we haven’t made any medals. Yet.
But we do take old items and make them new again by fixing them up and donating them to deserving local charities. If we can’t reuse items, we work with great recyclers who take care of the dismantling and extraction of valuable reusable materials – which are used in a wide range of new products. Each step of the reuse or recycling process we have developed helps keep natural resources in the ground, which is vital considering their finite nature.
Product lifecycle is inevitable, there isn’t much in the way of material possessions that we keep forever. But there are some amazing methods available to process materials in order to prepare them for reuse – keeping them out of landfills and preventing unnecessary natural resource extraction. Regardless of the item, chances are there is a way for it to be at least partially reused, upcycled or recycled.
Next time you’re shopping for new items, or wondering how to get rid of unwanted ones – check for sustainable processing options. Many are free, and all are a better option than the landfill.
We would like to give props to the 2020 Olympic Games organizers though – for this super creative upcycling project. Not only is it a practical application of reuse, it also brings some much–needed attention to waste reduction through recovery, reuse and recycling.
As an end note – here are some other inspired applications:
Mattress recycling – Re-Matt locally recycles 95% of your old mattress for $15: http://www.re-matt.com/what-we-do/
Clothing recycling – Clothing for a Cause, with stationary bins, collects and sells old clothing to international recyclers, who turn it into things like stuffing for car seats, furniture padding and insulation and even re-weave fabrics for new items. All of this supports charitable causes: http://www.clothingforacause.com/
Plastic bag recycling –L & M Mats creates sleeping mats for the homeless by crocheting old plastic bags together. https://www.facebook.com/mats4thehomeless/?ref=py_c
Paint recycling – You can drop off up to 20 litres of unwanted paint per week, for free, at City Landfull ‘Throw and Go’ areas and designated fire stations (http://www.calgary.ca/UEP/WRS/Pages/What-goes-where/Chemicals-Paint-and-paint-cans.aspx) You can even consider using upcycled paint for your next project: https://www.ecocoatpaint.ca/