06. Apr 2020

Adding value to olive stones

Adding value to olive stones

A new project launched by Spanish plastics technology centre AIMPLAS, in collaboration with OLIPE, or Olivarera Los Pedroches in full, a cooperative of olive oil producers in Andalusia, is looking at the feasibility of using olive stones to make a new bioplastic.

The project, called GO-Oliva, will make it possible to develop Oliplast, a new biodegradable, compostable plastic material from renewable sources that will be used to manufacture new packaging materials for oil and oil products.

Spain is the world’s leading olive oil producer. Considerable waste is generated during production, and not in the least during the stoning process. This waste is currently incinerated for power generation. However, AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre, and OLIPE, Olivarera de los Pedroches, have implemented the GO-OLIVA project to find a high value-added application for this waste by producing a new sustainable packaging material for oil packaging items.

The result is Oliplast, a new biodegradable, compostable, plastic compound material made with materials from renewable sources, namely, a filler or reinforcement from olive oil and a thermoplastic material. Oliplast can be processed by extrusion and injection moulding to manufacture new products such as trays and plates to hold bottles, as well as caps for packaging containers for cosmetic creams made with olive oil.

Work done to date has involved selecting raw materials and developing an olive stone that can be used to obtain the new material. The next step will be to perform a behavioural study so the material can be validated for transformation processes. Finally, an environmental study will be carried out to determine the material’s compostability.

GO-OLIVE is framed within the call for grant applications for innovative projects to be carried out by supra-regional Operational Groups (GO) of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI) as part of the National Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 (EAFRD) for 2019. The project has a total budget of €340,131.38 and has received a grant for €316,131.38, of which 80% is co-funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and 20% by the Spanish government.


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