Japan hopes to put discarded smartphones and other devices to good use by recycling them to become medals for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Apparently, authorities are convinced that electronic waste has enough precious metals to produce the coveted medals. Government officials, Olympic organizers and company executives discussed the idea back in June, Nikkei reported.
According to the outlet, Japan is home to around 16-22% of the world’s total reserves of gold and silver. These figures, contained in consumer electronics, are greater than countries with abundant natural resources.
But to fully realize its endeavor, Japan needs to establish a more expanded system of electronic waste collection. From about 650,000 tons a year, less than 100,000 tons is retrieved under the small home appliance recycling law.
Takeshi Kuroda, president of a home appliance company, called for a system that’s convenient for citizens turning in used electronics. He went on:
“A collection system should be created by the private sector, and central and local governments should be in charge of publicizing such private services. If this public-private cooperation progresses, the collection of electronic waste should also progress.”
It is mandatory to recycle cars, home appliances and personal computers in Japan. Recycling plants are closely monitored by the government, Channel News Asia said.
Hideyuki Umeda, Deputy Director of the Recycling Promotion Division of the Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry, stressed the importance of communication between manufacturers and the recycling industry to promote the recycle-and-reuse culture in the country.