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Japan will recycle the Olympic flame

Japan is turning to recycled metals to create the torches used for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Sustainability is a big part of next year’s Olympics. Japan already created hundreds of medals made from recycled metals – sourced from discarded smartphones. Now, the government has revealed the torches used to kick-off the competition will be made from recycled aluminium.

What’s more; the scrap metal was collected in Fukushima prefecture. It’s hard to forget the major earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster that took place there in 2011. They jointly caused an estimated 16 000 fatalities – while costing the local economy no less than US$ 235 billion.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe visiting Fukushima to assess the damage.

In the aftermath, many of the 340 000 people fleeing the area sought shelter in temporary buildings made from aluminium plates. Around 46 000 such shelters were built to house the evacuees. Roughly 10 000 of the aluminium construction plates are now being recycled into Olympic torches. Watch the opening ceremony of the last Olympic Games here.

Recycled medals

Over 1620 municipalities (90%) participated in the phone recycling scheme. Citizens were also allowed to hand in their other handheld devices, such as tablets. More than 75 000 tonnes of e-scrap was collected nation-wide.

So how much metal was recovered to create the medals?

  • Gold: 32kg
  • Silver: 3500kg
  • Bronze: 2200kg

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