Tokyo 2020 medals to be made from recycled mobile phones

United States' Simone Biles displays her gold medal for floor during the artistic gymnastics women's apparatus final at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

(CNN)– Olympic and Paralympic Games have traditionally always been about gold, silver and bronze, but organizers of Tokyo 2020 want their Games to be remembered for being green.

The Japanese public have been asked to donate unwanted mobile phones and other electronic items to help make 5,000 medals.

Organizers hope to get eight tonnes of metal from collection boxes which will be placed in local offices and telecoms stores around the country from April.

“There’s a limit on the resources of our earth, so recycling these things will make us think about the environment,” said Tokyo 2020 sports director Koji Murofushi.

Recently-retired Ashton Eaton, America’s two-time Olympic champion and decathlon world record holder, said each medal would now have its own story.

“The best part is that each citizen has a chance to contribute to the story, to raise awareness about a sustainable future and to make a unique contribution.

“And, most excitingly, they have a chance to be part of the Olympic journey.”

The move is not only aimed at promoting sustainability, but also at saving costs.

Recycled materials have been used in previous Games to make Olympic medals, with 30% of the silver and bronze medals at last summer’s Olympics in Rio made from recycled materials.

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