Turning Olive Stones Into Decorative Furniture

Paninos, a company based in the south of Spain, takes what has traditionally been a waste byproduct of olive oil production and turned it into an additional revenue stream.

Photo courtesy of Paninos.
By Rosa Gonzalez-Lamas
Jan. 7, 2019 15:34 UTC
Photo courtesy of Paninos.

In a small town in the heart of Spanish olive coun­try, an age-old byprod­uct is find­ing a brand new use.

Paninos, which is based in Benamejí, Córdoba, has launched an ini­tia­tive to use olive stones in new and inno­v­a­tive ways. The com­pany takes these stones and trans­forms them into fur­ni­ture, includ­ing bath­room and kitchen counter tops, among other things.

The new appli­ca­tions would also con­tribute to entre­pre­neur­ial devel­op­ment and to cre­ate more jobs in Andalusia’s rural envi­ron­ment.- Francisco Arjona, Paninos

Spain is respon­si­ble for almost half of the world’s olive stone pro­duc­tion. During the 2018 – 19 har­vest year, the coun­try was expected to pro­duce nearly 800,000 tons of the byprod­uct, most of which is cur­rently burned as bio­mass.

The project began in 2013 with the main goal of seek­ing new uses for these olive stones, so that they could be trans­formed from a waste prod­uct into an addi­tional stream of rev­enue for olive grow­ers and oil pro­duc­ers.

The new appli­ca­tions would also con­tribute to entre­pre­neur­ial devel­op­ment and to cre­ate more jobs in Andalusia’s rural envi­ron­ment,” Francisco Arjona, the inno­va­tor behind these olive stone-based coat­ings, told Olive Oil Times.

Arjona is a tech­ni­cal archi­tect and is well acquainted with the olive oil sec­tor. He works for two com­pa­nies that pro­duce, trans­form and sell olive oil stones, either for bio­mass or to be used in other indus­trial processes, such as cos­met­ics pro­duc­tion and bio­com­pos­ites. Juan Cabello, a car­pen­ter, has worked with Arjona on the product’s devel­op­ment.

The cre­ation of Paninos olive stone coat­ings has been the result of a long process that began with try­ing to stick the crushed olive stones to wood. Once a mate­r­ial sim­i­lar to the cur­rent coat­ing was achieved, the inven­tors real­ized its unique­ness, ver­sa­til­ity and aes­thetic poten­tial for dec­o­ra­tion. The crushed stones have many pos­si­bil­i­ties in terms of tex­tures and designs. The mate­r­ial is also sus­tain­able, durable and renew­able.

What we do is spread crushed olive stones over a board to which resin has been pre­vi­ously applied,” Arjona said. Once the stones are adhered, the mate­r­ial is sanded and the result­ing sur­face is cov­ered with an olive stone flour filler. The mate­r­ial is then sanded again and coated with a trans­par­ent var­nish.”

One of the advan­tages of the mate­r­ial is that it allows for a great diver­sity of col­ors and designs. In addi­tion to tables, kitchen or bath­room coun­ters, Paninos is also using olive stones to cre­ate doors, frames, wall pan­els, work­tops, and other prod­ucts.

According to Arjona, the coat­ings have a very com­pet­i­tive price, con­sid­er­ing how unique and ver­sa­tile they are. He and Cabello work mostly with stones from Arbequina, Hojiblanca and Picual olive vari­eties, although Arjona empha­sized that the vari­ety of the olive employed is irrel­e­vant for the final prod­uct.

In 2018 Paninos obtained a European patent for this mate­r­ial. This January 2019 the com­pany will join Spain’s ICEX-Exports and Investments stand at the Maison & Objet fair, which is held in Paris, to show­case their prod­ucts to poten­tial buys from around the globe.

Paninos is also work­ing on devel­op­ing new and dif­fer­ent kinds of prod­ucts related to olive stones.


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