Your Old Computer Could Be an Olympic Medal

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After a two-year-long design competition, the 2010 Winter Olympic medals have been chosen, and the design isn’t the only cool part. Weighing in at a record 500-576 grams, the medals are made from recycled electronics.

On Oct. 15, the medals were unveiled. Canadian Aboriginal designer and artist Corinne Hunt, along with designers from the Royal Canadian Mint, Teck Resources Limited and VANOC, collaborated on the two-year project resulting in some of the heaviest medals in Olympic and Paralympic history.

After shredding, separating and heating end-of-life electronic components, the byproducts are combined with other metals to create the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Medals.

After shredding, separating and heating end-of-life electronic components, the byproducts are combined with other metals to create the 2010 Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Medals.

Hunt, a Vancouver-based artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage, chose the orca and the raven as motifs for the Olympic and Paralympic medals respectively, representing important attributes in Canadian Aboriginal history.

Each medal was hand-cropped, ensuring no two are alike, which is a first in Games history. The unique medals feature wavy forms evoking scenes of British Columbia’s mountains, sea and snow.

Teck Resources, a Vancouver-based diversified metals company, supplied the materials for the medals, much of it coming from end-of-life electronics.

“Our employees worldwide are honored to supply the metals for the medals that will be cherished by the world’s best winter athletes in 2010,” said Teck’s President and CEO Don Lindsay. “We’re also excited that these medals will contain recycled metal recovered from end-of-life electronics, consistent with the sustainability philosophy of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The medals top the podium with other recycled milestones, including recycled uniforms for Coca-Cola’s 550 Vancouver Olympics employees. The Games aim to divert 85 percent of waste from the landfill with a comprehensive recycling, composting and waste-reduction strategy.

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