The medals to be awarded at the 2008 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver are made from metal recovered from electronic waste. Credit: © VANOC/COVAN

To make the Olympic medals that will be awarded to the winners of the ski jump, figure skating, bobsled and other winter events in Vancouver this year, the Vancouver Olympic Committee (VANOC) extracted gold, silver and copper from recycling so-called e-waste, Mother Jones reports.

E-waste (a shortening of electronic waste) includes everything from televisions to iPods. A study published in the journal Sciene last year found that e-waste had become the fastest-growing component of the U.S. solid-waste stream. More than 1.36 million metric tons of discarded cell phones, mp3 players and other electronics site in landfills and elsewhere, the study found.

VANOC decided to use recovered metals from e-waste to make the medals to help their games fulfill one of the three Olympic pillars, sustainability.

The company doing the extractions, Teck Resources, plans to process 15,000 tons of e-waste this year, according to the Mother Jones report.

VANOC also plans to rely on clean energy sources and has built Olympic structures according to green building standards.
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