Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has joined a unique recycling drive in Japan that is using old consumer electronics to make medals for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
The Premier donated an old Queensland Government mobile phone to the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project while visiting the construction site of the Games Aquatics Centre as part of a recent trade mission to Japan.
‘Queensland is always keen to support new and innovative ways to recycle and process waste, and the Tokyo 2020 Medal Project certainly fits that bill,’ the Premier said.
‘Japan is aiming to have 100% recycled content making up the medals for the next Olympics, which makes environmental sense, but also gives people a sense of participation and involvement in the Olympics and medal-making process.
‘It’s exciting to think that one day this old device may have a new life as a gold medal hanging proudly around the neck of a champion Queensland athlete.’
The Premier also met Japanese Minister for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games Shinichi Suzuki to strengthen ties that developed during the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
‘A delegation from the Tokyo2020 team was on hand in April to observe our security preparations and today Minister Suzuki confirmed they were especially impressed with our cyber-security measures,’ the Premier said.
‘We’ll continue to talk to Tokyo2020 through their preparations about issues including how to train and manage volunteers for the Games.’
The Tokyo 2020 Medal Project aims to make around 5,000 gold, silver and bronze medals for the Games from metals contained within small consumer electronic devices.
Since the initiative was launched in April 2017, more than 14 million tonnes of used electronic devices have been collected by municipalities across Japan, with 3.3 million old mobile phones donated so far.
The Premier also used the trade mission to promote Queensland peanuts and other fresh produce, and visited a special Queensland classroom in Tokyo, which has been set up to improve the English conversation skills of Japanese school students.
She was in Japan in late May while en route to the BIO2018 convention in Boston.
Expanding Queensland’s international presence is a priority of the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.