Environmentally Friendly Bioplastics Created From Olive Seeds

The idea to create olive-based plastics was sparked when Duygu Yilmaz decided to research whether her father's habit of eating olive seeds was detrimental to his health.

Photo courtesy of Biolive
Feb 27, 2019 7:50 AM EST
By Julie Al-Zoubi
Photo courtesy of Biolive

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Young entre­pre­neurs in Istanbul have come up with a way to turn olive seeds into envi­ron­men­tally friendly bio­plas­tics.

Their mis­sion is to fill a gap in the bio­plas­tics indus­try by recy­cling waste prod­ucts from olive oil pro­duc­tion into a green alter­na­tive to petro­leum derived plas­tics.

The plas­tic gran­ules we pro­duce can be used in indus­try, in pack­ag­ing (and) in toys.- Duygu Yilmaz, co-foud­ner and CFO of Biolive

The idea was sparked when co-founder and CFO, Duygu Yilmaz, became con­cerned about her father’s habit of eat­ing olive seeds. She decided to carry out some research to deter­mine if the olive pips were detri­men­tal to his health.

During her research Yilmaz dis­cov­ered sim­i­lar­i­ties in the chem­i­cal make up of olive stones and plas­tics. This dis­cov­ery led her to team up with two other young Turks, Ahmet Fatih Ayas and Mehmet Emin Öz and launch Biolive in 2016.

See Also: Olive Oil and the Environment

Biolive began trans­form­ing the cel­lu­losic agent sourced from olive pits, which are dis­carded dur­ing the olive oil pro­duc­tion process, into biodegrad­able plas­tic prod­ucts. These leave a much smaller car­bon foot­print and offer a sus­tain­able sub­sti­tute for plas­tic pack­ag­ing.

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The plas­tic gran­ules we pro­duce can be used in indus­try, in pack­ag­ing [and] in toys,” Yilmaz told Energy News Live. We will estab­lish a pro­duc­tion plant and sell to indus­try regard­ing to indus­try demands.”

The trio claim they can trans­form five tons of olive seeds into 3.5 tons of bio­plas­tic which decom­poses within one year and is absorbed into the earth as fer­til­izer. This would be a stark con­trast to the envi­ron­men­tally dam­ag­ing, oil-derived plas­tics that pro­duce high lev­els of car­bon emis­sions and take around 450 years to decom­pose.

In 2018, Biolive won the advanced mate­ri­als cat­e­gory for waste ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion in the Cleantech National Accelerator Global Ideas Competition. This fol­lowed fund­ing by Vestel Ventures in 2017, which enabled Biolive to begin design­ing, devel­op­ing and pro­duc­ing bio-based plas­tics and gran­ules.

Yilmaz who is pas­sion­ate about inspir­ing other young women in Turkey and cre­at­ing jobs has been rec­og­nized for her olive pip inno­va­tion and in 2017 was named as Turkey’s Promising Woman Entrepreneur.”

Turkey has been slow to address the dam­age caused by dis­carded plas­tics and was ranked poorly for envi­ron­men­tal per­for­mance by Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

Around 30 to 35 bil­lion plas­tic bags were used annu­ally and only this year, Turkish super­mar­kets have been banned from giv­ing out plas­tic bags. The aver­age Turkish con­sumer was using around 440 per year com­pared to the 15 to 25 aver­aged by European con­sumers.

This is not the first time olive seeds have ousted petro­leum derived plas­tics. Back In 2017 a British com­pany devel­oped micro-beads from olive pomace and went on to cre­ate an envi­ron­men­tally friendly hand wash made from ground olive ker­nels instead of ocean-destroy­ing plas­tic micro-beads.

We man­u­fac­ture olive-based micro-beads to order, pri­mar­ily for the cos­met­ics indus­try, and we have an agree­ment with a Norwegian part­ner to take these into the cos­met­ics mar­ket,” co-founder Steve Taylor told Olive Oil Times, We have seen increased inter­est as the removal of plas­tic-based beads gath­ers pace.”





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