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Produced by the Brazilian Mint, the 5,130 medals for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be symbols of sustainability and accessibility as well as sporting excellence. The coveted prizes, which weigh 500g each, comprise 30 per cent recycled silver and bronze while the ribbons are made from 50 per cent recycled PET. Meanwhile, the gold medals are completely free of mercury.
The gold medals are purer than ever, meeting sustainability criteria from extraction to refining, as well as meeting strict environmental and labour laws. They make use of recycled raw silver at 92.5 per cent purity, coming from leftover mirrors, waste solders and X-ray plates. And 40 per cent of the copper used in the bronze medals came from waste at the Mint itself. The substance was melted and decontaminated to provide material for the medals.
Athletes who make it onto the Olympic podium will receive their medal in a sustainably sourced wooden box along with a sculpture of the Rio 2016 logo. Commemorative gold, silver, bronze and golden bronze medals will be available to buy.