The Recycled Medals of the Rio Olympics

With the opening ceremony for the games of the 31st Olympiad kicking off in Rio de Janeiro this Friday, we’re taking a look at how the organisers have gone the extra mile to ensure an ‘environmentally friendly’ event.

Back in June, the IOC (International Olympics Committee) released images of the Bronze, Silver and Gold medals for this year’s games, with some interesting facts also announced regarding the composition of the metal used in the athletes’ prizes.

First, the Bronze medals will be made with copper recycled from the National Mint, whilst around 30% of the metal used in the Silver medals will be recycled from, among other materials, recycled mirrors and X-Ray plates.

The Gold medals are entirely free of Mercury, and are in their purest form ever, having met sustainability criteria from extraction to refining, with all three of the coveted medals weighing in at around 500g each.

This innovative design is intended to act as a symbol of sustainability and accessibility, intertwined with the representation of sporting excellence which the iconic medals automatically carry.

It’s not just the medals themselves, either. The accompanying ribbon which secures the metal around the athlete’s neck is being produced using recycled plastic from old bottles.

Those athletes lucky enough to make it onto the podium to receive one of the three medals will be presented their prize in a sustainably sourced wooden box, another symbol which represents the event’s clear commitment to the environment.

All 5,310 medals for the Rio Olympics are being produced by the National Brazilian Mint, in preparation for the official kick-off on Friday 5th August.