Japan might use recycled smartphones to make its 2020 Olympic medals

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The 2020 Olympic medals might be very different

If the Rio 2016 closing ceremony showed us anything about what to expect from the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, it's that the Japanese will be leaning heavily on their pop culture icons - of which there are many.

But Tokyo 2020 might also showcase sustainability, with a report from Nikkei suggesting the medals on offer in Japan will be made using electronic waste.

Takeshi Kuroda, president of ReNet Japan Group, is backing the plan. He said: "We need a system that makes it easy for consumers to turn in used consumer electronics."

Rather than asking mining corporations to donate the precious metals to create Japan's medals, the organisers hope to collect already used copper, silver and gold from the country's "urban mine".

More than enough precious metals are collected via Japan's electronic recycling programme to make Olympic Games medals, but the problem arises because a lot of them are already being used to create more electronics.

To combat this, Kuroda is simply calling for more electronics to be recycled.

He said: "A collection system should be created by the private sector, and central and local governments should be in charge of publicising such private services.

"If this public-private co-operation progresses, the collection of electronic waste should also progress."