August 18, 2016

The 2016 Olympic Medals are Eco-Friendly


 Olympic medals may not be something that you would think could be eco-friendly but they definitely can be, and this year they were! The composition and design of the medals is decided by the host city's organizing committee.  Although there are some concrete specifications that must be adhered to, the committee has some freedom.  For example, the gold and silver medals are 92.5% silver and gold medals must be plated with at least 6 grams of gold. In addition, all Olympic medals must be at least 3mm thick and 60mm in diameter.  

The committee in charge took some of the freedom they did have to make the medals a bit more eco-friendly.  The gold that was used in the gold medals was free of mercury contamination despite the difficulty in separating these elements from each other. In addition, the sterling silver that was used for the silver medals was partially recycled (~30%). Lastly, some of the copper used to make the bronze medals was also recycled.  This may seem like a small difference, but a few hundred medals are given out in total so these small differences add up.  Glad to see that a global event such as the Olympics has an eco presence.