Step up: Tokyo Olympics podiums made of discarded plastic

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 10:51 p.m. ET

TOKYO (AP) — Tokyo Olympics organizers earlier announced their gold, silver, and bronze medals would be made of discarded electronic devises. Now they are going a step further.

The podiums that athletes will mount to receive their medals next year in Tokyo will be made primarily of recycled household plastics.

"We think this project will have great significance," Tokyo Olympics chief executive Toshiro Muto said on Tuesday, speaking through an interpreter.

Organizers expected to build about 100 sets of podiums with recycled plastics, probably reinforced with aluminum. Muto said that metal could come from temporary housing built after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Fukushima region of northeastern Japan.

The discarded plastics would be collected at 2,000 retails stores across Japan. In addition, Muto said major Olympic sponsor Procter & Gamble might contribute some marine plastic for recycling.

"P&G has informed us they have some stock, some inventory of marine plastic waste to be recycled," Muto said.

Muto said the plan did not include measures for the Tokyo Olympics to separately collect marine waste.


Tokyo expected to collect about 45,000 kilograms (about 100,000 pounds) to build the podiums. The podiums might be given afterward to schools or athletic organizations, Muto said.

Tokyo medals will be made from smart phones, digital cameras, and laptops.

Tokyo organizers say using recycled materials for the medals and the podiums is a first for an Olympics.

Muto also reminded Olympic Games visitors that cannabis is against the law in Japan. It is also on the banned list of the World Anti-Doping Agency.