How the Olympics are showing that Reverse Logistics is essential for Global Sustainability
Roughly 250 Gold Medals were given out at this years Olympics in Rio, even more Silver and Bronze. While they are not all 100% pure, these medals still represent a great deal of commodities and raw materials. Such items are usually what are called “virgin” materials. Virgin materials are mined, fresh from the earth, using massive machinery and expensive purification processes–virgin mining leaves behind environmental wastelands like quarries, hazardous mines, and unusable brownfield areas. Not only does virgin mining pose environmental risks, it is also much less sustainable.
New Ideas for Tokyo 2020
Nearly 16% of the world’s gold is estimated to be in the electronics market of Japan. Japan is the manufacturer of a huge market share of consumer electronics. PC boards, CPUs, heat sinks, and much more components require trace amounts of gold and silver to operate efficiently and reliably. This wealth of gold is often called Japan’s “Urban Mine.” Many discarded electronics represent not only a window for unmatched sustainability, but a brilliant message on the biggest podium of the global sporting world.
Rio made leaps and strides in sustainability. Roles were made specifically to oversee the environmental footprint the development, implementation, and structured end of the games. Materials, buildings, and energy consumption were all taken into consideration behind the scenes of Rio 2016. This is a trend we like and something we hope only to see more of.
Reverse Logistics in the Olympic Games
Perhaps not as exciting as Michael Phelps’ 24 gold medals, the sources of precious materials, and our way of making them is a truly pertinent issue. The industry of reuse often gets eclipsed by the glitzy topics of solar and wind energy or carbon reduction. However reverse logistics, i.e. the idea of taking recycled material instead of virgin materials, will be a crucial element to a sustainable future.