`Project in Algeria Turns Byproducts into Compost - Olive Oil Times

Project in Algeria Turns Byproducts into Compost

Dec. 14, 2014
Isabel Putinja

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A study has exam­ined how oil mills in cen­tral Algeria can make use of olive oil pro­duc­tion byprod­ucts by trans­form­ing them into com­post, thus min­i­miz­ing pol­lu­tion and even gen­er­at­ing addi­tional sources of income for the olive oil indus­try.

According to the web­site of the Delegation of the European Union to Algeria, the study was under­taken as part of the Economic Diversification Support Programme, known as DIVECO, financed by the European Union to improve eco­nomic per­for­mance in the agri­cul­tural and food pro­duc­tion sec­tors in Algeria.
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Olive oil pro­duc­tion cre­ates a sig­nif­i­cant amount of waste. To pro­duce 15 liters of olive oil, 40 kg of orujo (solid waste gen­er­ated by the tra­di­tional meth­ods of extrac­tion made up of the skin, remain­ing pulp and pits of the olive fruit) and 70 kg of amurca (dark-col­ored liq­uid waste and sed­i­ment) of waste prod­ucts are left over.

These byprod­ucts are a con­sid­er­able source of pol­lu­tion in the cen­tral region of Algeria where 78 per­cent of olive mills are located. More than 100,000 tons of the waste have been dumped in the area, adversely affect­ing fish and aquatic life, the qual­ity of drink­ing water and caus­ing an increased salin­ity of the soil, mak­ing land uncul­tivable. Fires have also been caused by the fer­men­ta­tion of orujo.

Olive oil pro­duc­ers do not have an alter­na­tive to dis­pos­ing of this waste in land dumps, a prac­tice which is not in line with laws gov­ern­ing the dis­posal of liq­uid indus­trial waste.

The project was under­taken at the request of the Association Professionnelle des Oléifacteurs de la Région Centre (APOC), the asso­ci­a­tion of the cen­tral Algeria’s olive oil pro­duc­ers.

While the pos­si­bil­ity of using the waste to pro­duce bio­gas was deemed too expen­sive in a coun­try where gas is rea­son­ably priced, the study con­cluded that the sim­plest and cheap­est solu­tion would be com­post­ing. This would reduce the vol­ume of waste and sta­bi­lize it while pro­duc­ing com­post which can be used for farm­ing.


In order to test the plan, the team set up a pilot project cre­at­ing a com­post unit capa­ble of pro­cess­ing 4,000 tons of waste per year.

APOC will be pre­sent­ing the results of the final study to the Algerian min­istry of the envi­ron­ment.

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