Posted By Vicki McClure Davidson on February 16, 2010
The fiscally-responsible-conservative-slash-frugalista in me loves this story… frugality, reusing, and recycling at a techie and an international level. The Winter Olympics 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada will award a total of 258 medals: 86 each in gold, silver, and bronze.
All the Olympic medals contain recovered metals from electronic waste, also called e-waste. Pretty cool.
From Cellular-News, Olympic Medals Made from Electronic Waste:
For the first time in Olympic history, the medals at the Olympic Games contain gold, silver and copper that has been recovered from electronic waste (e-waste). Teck, the Canadian metal supplier for the Olympic medals, used metals from e-waste, among other sources, for the manufacture of the medals. The recovery of medals from e-waste is important, because it reduces demand for scarce metals such as gold and copper.
The mining of metals is often tied up with a wide range of social and environmental risks. In this context, SOMO recently published the E-waste Policy Paper, containing recommendations about reuse of metals and responsible processing of e-waste.
In Europe, the quantity of e-waste is growing by three to five percent per year, almost three times as fast as the total waste flow . Despite the European Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, which is intended to stimulate the collection and responsible processing of this waste, most discarded electrical and electronic equipment is not collected or recycled. A proportion of discarded European equipment is exported to developing countries as second-hand goods, where it will be dumped as waste sooner or later. There are also still illegal waste shipments from Europe to countries such as Ghana, Nigeria and China. These countries do not have the capacity to recycle e-waste responsibly and fully. This results in the loss of costly metals. But that is not the only problem. A lot of electronic equipment contains toxic materials which become hazardous to humans and the environment at the moment it’s dumped as waste or it’s poorly processed.
The complexity of the e-waste problem demands a multifaceted approach. Firstly, the increase of collection, reuse and recycling of discarded electronics is an important element in the solution to the e-waste problem. When old electronic equipment, such as mobile telephones and laptops, is collected separately, most of the metals can be recycled and reused, not only in new electronics, but also in Olympic medals, as the initiative of Teck shows us.
More about the Olympic medals…
From Los Angeles Times, Olympics Blog: Vancouver unveils medals … jury still out on design:
Organizers proudly revealed the medals today for the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver and the description was naturally enthusiastic:
“The medals, revealed today, each feature a different crop of larger contemporary Aboriginal artworks and are undulating rather than flat — both firsts in Games history. The dramatic form of the Vancouver 2010 medals is inspired by the ocean waves, drifting snow and mountainous landscape found in the Games region and throughout Canada. The Olympic medals are circular in shape, while the Paralympic medals are a superellipse, or squared circle.”
A couple of random thoughts. Whenever you can get the word undulating in a release, it’s impressive. Let’s put it this way … that word doesn’t make its way into NBA copy very often. And if it did, a phone call from an editor would probably follow.
Olympic sidebar: Nostalgic post with video at The Conservative Pup… Favorite Olympic Moments: 1988 Calgary, Midori Ito. Check it out.