The Good Route: Olympic Metals = (Kinda) Green Bling


Between now and the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, athletes will receive a total of 1014 medals. All that bling represents a goodly amount of the Earth's minerals. But this year, and for the first time, a percentage of the metals used to forge the medals was derived from electronic waste.

Teck Resources Limited, the provider of metals used in the 2010 medals,has developed a process by which it recovers and smelts metalscontained in cathode ray tube glass, computer parts and circuit boards.

Granted, the recycled content in the medals is very small–only 1.52% in the gold medals, just 0.122% in silver and 1.11% of the copper–but it's a start.

These are among the heaviest medals in the Games history and also the first to sport an undulating surface–meant to mimic the waterways and mountain topography of British Columbia. Teck posted an interesting video in which you'll learn more about the medals, which are derived from Komoyue and Tlingit images of the orca whale and raven and are the work of Corrine Hunt, a Canadiandesigner/artist based in Vancouver, BC.

Mary Catherine O'Connoris a freelance writer, covering the environment, sustainability andoutdoor recreation. The Good Route, her blog for Outside Online, isfocused on the places where the active life and sustainability merge.