Saturday, April 3, 2010

Recycled gold, silver and copper recovered from electronics equipment used to make Vancouver medals

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Winning athletes at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver this week will be able to bask in the glow of double glory – athletic success combined with environmental kudos.

The organisers of the Winter Olympics may have angered environmental groups by trucking in snow from more than a hundred miles away to tackle the inclement weather, but at least the medals handed out to successful competitors have been designed with the environment in mind.

According to the firm that secured the prestigious deal to make the models, Vancouver-based mining and metals company Teck Resources, the medals will be the first ever to contain metals recovered from processing the circuit boards from electronic waste that would otherwise be destined for landfill.

Teck said it has provided 2.05kg of gold, 1,950kg of silver and 903kg of copper sourced from its operations around the world for use in more than 1,000 medals that will be dished out over the next fortnight.

Only a small proportion of the metal used in the medals has been recovered from e-waste – accounting for 1.52 per cent of the gold medals, just 0.122 per cent for the silver, and 1.11 per cent of the copper medals that represent bronze.

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