The New Olympic Medals Are to be Made from E-Waste.

How Much is the New Olympic Gold Medal Going to be Worth?

By Chris Keenan

Have you ever wondered how much actual gold is in an Olympic gold medal? Well the answer might surprise you. 

We haven’t seen a pure gold Olympic medal being awarded for over a century.  At current gold prices a solid gold medal would be worth close to $40,000 USD.  If the medals were still made from gold, the 2016 Rio Olympic gold medals alone would have cost the Brazilian tax payer over $12 million US dollars.

Thankfully the Brazilians can rest easy in the knowledge that 92% of an Olympic gold medal is actually only silver! That’s right, the 1st place medal is largely made from the same stuff as the 2nd place medal.  Which is great for the tax payer, just don’t tell the Olympic champions.

It turns out that just 1% of the 1st place medal is actually made of gold. With that small amount of gold, you have to ask the question: “what’s the actual difference between coming 1st over coming 2nd?”.  Roughly speaking, if you come 1st you’re about $250 better off.  A gold medal is only worth about $565 and a silver medal is worth approximately $315.  However, it’s not about the money, it’s about the taking part, especially if you come in 3rd as the bronze medal is worth just a bit more than a slap across the face with a wet fish, which equates to roughly $2.85.


To their credit, when the Japanese found out they’d be hosting the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, they immediately set about to improve the value of their Olympic medals.  Amazingly enough, they succeeded.  An Olympic Tokyo games medal is now technically worth close to $24,000 USD.  Ok, calm down! Before you push the computer off the desk and start doing press-ups at work, you need to know that even if you won gold you can’t cash the medal in for $24k.

Here’s the story.  A group of Japanese eco-warrior students from Waseda University started a movement to encourage the government to make the Olympic medals from recycled e-waste.  Unlike the Western World their Government listened to them, loved the idea and set up a program to make it happen.  The gold, silver and bronze for the medals was sourced from approximately 300,000 recycled smartphones, laptops and digital cameras.  Just over 8 tons of metals were reclaimed from these devices, which is more than enough to make the 5000 medals needed for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.



Whilst technically the medals have the same amount of gold, silver and bronze as any previous medal this century, their worth originally equated to the purchase price of 300,000 devices.  Doing the maths that’s 300K phones x $400 each / 5000 medals = $24k per medal, though the actually metal worth is less than $600.

All joking to one side, when an Olympian wins’ gold, they are not just making a win for their country.   They are indirectly making a win for the environment as well.  How’s that for a double win?

If you want to help make a difference as well, recycle your company’s electronics with Newtech Recycling.  Call us today 732-564-3110 (8am to 4pm EST) or visit our website for an automatic quote: NewtechRecycling.com

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