`Researchers Make Biodegradable Plastic Bottles from Olive Skins - Olive Oil Times

Researchers Make Biodegradable Plastic Bottles from Olive Skins

Dec. 4, 2011
Julie Butler

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Soon you may be able to buy olive oil in bio­plas­tic bot­tles made from a com­pound found in olive skins, thanks to the work of a Spanish researcher.

Jesús Zorrilla has found a way to extract PHAs (poly-hydroxy-alcanoates) from the residues of olive skins, which in turn can be used to make plas­tic con­tain­ers that are non-toxic and 100 per­cent biodegrad­able.

According to a press release from Jaen’s Sierra de Segura, an olive oil denom­i­na­tion of ori­gin, Zorrilla used byprod­ucts from one of the D.O.’s olive oil mills to develop the com­pound.

Not only would the bio­plas­tic con­tain­ers be suit­able for food, they would be ideal for olive oil, because unlike con­ven­tional plas­tic bot­tles derived from petro­leum, they avoid any risk of car­cino­genic poly­mers migrat­ing into the oil,” the D.O. said. They also have fac­tors that pro­tect oil from oxi­da­tion caused by expo­sure to light.

Furthermore, this new bio­plas­tic would pro­vide a way to make use of the olive skin residue from olive oil pro­duc­tion, which cur­rently has no eco­nomic value.”


An olive oil mill which processes about 10,000 tons of olives a year could obtain 30,000 kilos of bio­plas­tic, which would bring in addi­tional rev­enue of €200,000 ($268,000).”

Patent devel­op­ment is under­way and Zorrilla is keen to hear from any com­pa­nies involved in pack­ag­ing or research and devel­op­ment that might be inter­ested in help­ing finance the remain­ing phase.


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