KYOTO–Gorgeous “yamahoko” floats for the Gion Festival here will be restored using gold recovered from cellphones, portable game consoles and other home appliances.
The Kyoto city government said Feb. 8 that it will produce gold from home electronics collected from private citizens so the metal will be provided free of charge.
The program is aimed at raising the environmental consciousness of citizens by making clear how recycled resources are used as well as helping preserve one of Japan’s most famous traditional festivals.
The municipality has been collecting small home appliances since fiscal 2009. According to city officials, 180 tons are estimated to have been recovered this fiscal year, from which about 100 grams of gold can be retrieved.
The Kyoto government has signed a cooperative agreement with a company in Kita-Kyushu that is noted for its technique to retrieve gold from appliances.
Yamahoko use a large amount of gold for decoration.
One hundred grams of gold can be processed into 3,000 sheets of gold leaf each measuring 11 centimeters by 11 cm, according to Hori Metal Leaf & Powder Co. in Kyoto’s Nakagyo Ward, which was established in 1711.
“The move will significantly help the preservation of the luxurious and splendid Yamahoko Junko parade,” said Yoshihiro Kishimoto, the chairman of Gion Matsuri Yamahoko Rengokai.
Gold collected from home electronics will be used for float restoration starting the next fiscal year at the earliest, the officials said.