Researchers Develop Compostable Plastic Packaging From Olive Waste

Spanish researchers have produced a biodegradable and compostable plastic from olive-pit waste to be used in packaging products.

May. 7, 2020
By Isabel Putinja

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A Spanish joint ven­ture has devel­oped a new sus­tain­able pack­ag­ing mate­r­ial made from olive waste. Called Olipast, this biodegrad­able and com­postable plas­tic com­pound can be used to make prod­ucts such as trays, plates and caps for con­tain­ers designed for the pack­ag­ing of olive oil.

The aim of this project is to cre­ate a new high added-value appli­ca­tion from olive-pit waste by means of the devel­op­ment of new mate­ri­als to pro­duce sus­tain­able pack­ag­ing for olive-oil related prod­ucts.- Belén Redondo, AIMPLAS

The two-year Go-Oliva project was launched in November 2019 with the aim of cre­at­ing an eco-friendly and com­postable mate­r­ial to be used for oil pack­ag­ing. The project is a joint ven­ture of Spanish plas­tics tech­nol­ogy com­pany Aimplas Technological Institute of Plastics and the olive oil coop­er­a­tive Olivarera de los Pedroches (OLIPE).

Spain is the lead­ing olive oil pro­ducer and pro­duces a sig­nif­i­cant amount of olive-pit debris — a waste prod­uct of the olive press­ing process. The pro­jec­t’s researchers inves­ti­gated how to recy­cle the waste and trans­form it into a sus­tain­able new mate­r­ial.

See Also: Recycling in Olive Oil Production

The aim of this project is to cre­ate a new high added-value appli­ca­tion from olive-pit waste by means of the devel­op­ment of new mate­ri­als to pro­duce sus­tain­able pack­ag­ing for olive-oil related prod­ucts,” Belén Redondo, a researcher at AIMPLAS, told Olive Oil Times.

This waste was treated by ener­getic val­oriza­tion, or incin­er­a­tion, until now. On the one hand, raw mate­ri­als are biodegrad­able poly­meric matri­ces for the new com­pound,” Redondo said. On the other hand, the olive pit has to be treated to be incor­po­rated in poly­meric matri­ces. The olive pit is ground to obtain a micro­met­ric par­ti­cle size.”

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As a plas­tic com­pound mate­r­ial, Oliplast can be processed by the same extru­sion and injec­tion mold­ing meth­ods for the pro­duc­tion of plas­tics, and trans­formed into sus­tain­able pack­ag­ing for olive oil-related prod­ucts. These include caps that can be used for pack­ag­ing con­tain­ers meant for olive oil-based cos­met­ics or small dishes that can be placed under a bot­tle of olive oil to avoid spillage.

The next stage of the GO-OLIVA project, which runs through the end of 2021, is to con­duct a behav­ioral study.

The new mate­r­ial and the final prod­ucts will be char­ac­ter­ized to ana­lyze if they ful­fill all the require­ments needed for the final appli­ca­tions,” said Redondo.

This will be fol­lowed by an envi­ron­men­tal study to exam­ine the new material’s com­posta­bil­ity.

Oliplast could be avail­able within one year from the end of the project,” she added.

The GO-OLIVA project is co-funded by the Spanish gov­ern­ment and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) under the European Innovation Partnership (EIP-AGRI).

Previous research stud­ies have exam­ined how left­over waste from olive oil pro­duc­tion, and in par­tic­u­lar ground olive pits, could be recy­cled and trans­formed into clay bricks and cement paste to be used as build­ing mate­ri­als, for the mak­ing of dec­o­ra­tive fur­ni­ture, and even for the pro­duc­tion of noise bar­ri­ers.

A Turkish com­pany also pro­duces plas­tic micro-beads from olive pits for the cos­met­ics indus­try.



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