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The 2020 Olympic medals will be made using old smartphones

Update: The Olympic Committee has confirmed it has recycled enough bronze, silver and gold from old electronics to make all of the medals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Japan has confirmed it is looking to recycle old technology to make medals for the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games in Tokyo.

Previously rumored back in August, Japan is now encouraging the country's public to donate old phones and small appliances to help gather the material to make 5,000 medals.

From April, collection boxes will be placed in offices and phone stores around Japan to collect the metal needed for the project.

London's 2012 Olympic games saw 9.6kg of gold, 1,210kg of silver and 700kg of copper (the main ingredient needed when making bronze) used to make the medals.

Limited resources

Meanwhile, in 2014 Japan discarded 143kg of gold, 1,566kg of silver and 1,112 tons of copper all through electronics. A slight amount of that total should be able to create the medals for the 2020 games.

It's a project the country is pushing to help promote sustainability and the recycling of everyday items that contain precious metals.

Tokyo 2020 Sports Director Koji Murofushi said, "There's a limit on the resources of our earth, so recycling these things will make us think about the environment."

This marks the first time an Olympic host city has gathered materials needed for medals from a source that wasn’t a mining firm.

James Peckham

James is Phones Editor for TechRadar and covers all the big announcements from the best manufacturers making mobile phones, tablets and wearables. Based in London, James is often testing out the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, VR headsets and - when he can be motivated to go outside - fitness bands. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest from the mobile world.