Olimpíada de Tóquio-2020. Crédito: Divulgação Tokyo 2020

Tokyo 2020 Olympics to have 100% clean energy and recycled medal

The Japanese commitment to use solar and hydrogen-based energy; and more: the 5 thousand medals will be made of recycled metal from disposed electronic devices

The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, in 2020, committed to hold the event with 100% of clean and renewable energy. According to the Japan Times newspaper, the organizers said it is about promoting a more sustainable society starting from the preparation for four-yearly events, such as the summer Olympics.

The Olympic Village, main media center and the International Broadcast Center are confirmed to be supplied with clean energy resources. The main energy matrix to be used in the Japanese capital will be solar-based. To this end, the Committee is creating partnerships with companies to install and operate solar panels. The strategy also covers the installation of solar panels in the streets and roads of Tokyo and in surrounding areas. The panels will be installed beneath the streets and covered with a special resin that will ensure safety of cars running over them.

Other energy source considered by the Japanese for the Olympic Games is electrolysis, that is, hydrogen conversion. According to the American website CityLab, the plan is for the Olympic Village, area built to hold 6 thousand units, to also be supplied with that technology. The investment dedicated to implementing hydrogen energy technology has been estimated in about US$ 350 million.

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Efforts towards renewable energies are a wider process in Japanese society. CityLab also says that the country has been seeking alternatives more thoroughly since the Fukushima power plant accident, in 2011. Hydrogen electrolysis is seen as one of the most promising alternatives: its raw material is water. Currently, besides the nuclear matrix, Japan’s energy sources are oil, coal and natural gas; however, these all need foreign resources.

Recycled metal in medals

In addition to promoting clean energies, the 2020 Olympic Games Committee intends to promote recycling, especially of electronic materials. All 5 thousand medals to be given during the event will be made from recovered metals of electronic devices, such as smartphones.

Autoridades japonesas e do Comitê Olímpico Internacional anunciam que celulares reciclados irão virar medalha
Autoridades japonesas e do Comitê Olímpico Internacional anunciam que celulares reciclados irão virar medalha

Since April 2017, 70% of Japanese cities and towns have collected mobile phones and other equipment from houses and specialty stores: over a year, more than 3 million units and 14 million tons have been collected. The campaign will continue until 2019. The first Olympic competition where medals were crafted with recycled material was the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, a strategy repeated in Rio 2016, when the objects contained 30% of recycled elements.

With this initiative, it is estimated that 40 kg of gold, 2,920 kg of silver and 2,994 kg of bronze will be collected. According to the Brazilian newspaper O Globo, each medal will have 0.048 grams of gold, 0.26 grams of silver and 12 grams of copper, and the golden medals will be gold plated with 6 grams of pure gold.

Recycling goal and schedule

The Japanese Organizing Committee of the 2020 Olympics is on schedule. According to the latest report by the Japan Sport Council, the event facilities are 40% completed, like the Olympic Village and the Olympic Aquatics Center.

During the works, the goal set by the Committee was that 99% of acquired assets be reused or recycled by the end of the event. The Committee also committed to reuse or recycle at least 65% of waste generated by attendees at competition venues, such as bottles and snack packages.