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Olympics Going Green – Recycling Precious Metals for Medals




The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics is going green.  Not only is the Olympic committee pushing / practicing the three R’s (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) using the bins provided at all Games venues;   this year, when the winter Olympic champions have the gold, silver and bronze medals placed around their necks, they will be wearing old computer parts. 

In an effort to cut greenhouse emissions by 15%, Olympic organizers are using recycled materials to help reach this overall goal.  In past games, the medals have been made of freshly mined ores.  A Canadian based mining company responsible for making the medals had developed a process to recapture metals from cathode ray glass tubes, computer circuits, keyboards and other recyclable e-waste.  The process to recover precious metals is said to include shredding, separating and heating the recyclable materials.  Other signs of the sustainability of the Vancouver 2010 Games include solar panels and green roofs in the Olympic villages as well as personal reusable water bottles at Games venues for the first time.

Third place finishers will receive a bronze medal with 1.11% recycled material.  Second place finishers will receive a silver medal with 0.12% recycled material.  And the Olympic champion in the event will receive a gold medal with 1.52% recycled material.

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