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Olèico+ - European awareness raising campaign for an environmentally sustainable olive mill waste management

LIFE07 INF/IT/000438

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Francesca SANTORI
Fax: +39 0744 470174

Project description:


In terms of area occupied, olive trees are among the most cultivated crops in the Mediterranean basin. There are around 750 million productive olive trees worldwide, occupying an area of 7 million hectares. The Mediterranean region alone accounts for 98% of this area and for 97% of the total production of olive, which is, on average, 17 000 x103 tonnes per year (FAOSTAT 2007). The main olive oil producers are Spain (27%), Italy (26%), Greece (18%), Turkey (6%) and, to a lesser extent, Tunisia, Morocco and Syria (4% each) and Portugal, Egypt and Algeria (2% each). The amount of olive waste generated, about 13 500 x 103 tonnes per year, represents a key environmental problem in Mediterranean areas, especially because the olive oil production is concentrated between November and March. The olive waste is thus generated in huge quantities in a short period of time and, due to considerable concentrations of phenols, lipids and organic acids, it is also highly phytotoxic. However, these residues contain valuable resources such as large quantities of organic matter and a wide range of recyclable nutrients.


The primary scope of the project was to raise awareness among olive industry operators of the environmental damage caused by the careless disposal of olive waste. It aimed to change the way olive mill owners dealt with by taking concrete measures. It would provide continuous technical support and news of financial opportunities, in order to convince mill owners to adopt eco-friendly technologies for the recovery and recycling of these wastes. The final objective of the project was to contribute to the implementation of EU environmental policy and legislation in the field of the olive waste management. It would take advantage of initiatives already co-financed by the EU in the field of the olive waste management and further disseminate results.


The LIFE Olèico+ project achieved its main objective, raising awareness among the olive industry operators of the environmental concern caused by the careless disposal of the olive waste, and building an effective dialogue between research centres, industries and policy makers, inducing them to adopt economic and environmental sustainable technologies.

The project created a database of 146 technologies for olive mill waste treatment and reuse currently used for the disposal of oil mill wastes. The technologies were evaluated from a technical, economical and environmental point of view as well as how they manage the process residues. They selected eight ecologically friendly technologies., which were advertised in four awareness raising campaigns carried out in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece. The campaigns were used also to explain to olive mill owners the environmental effects of a careless disposal of the olive mill waste in soil, surface water and sea. These negative environmental effects were thoroughly discussed during the awareness raising campaigns, making the olive industry operators conscious of all environmental concerns.

The campaigns also targeted regional agencies for environmental protection and the ministries of environment and agriculture of the targeted countries. Based on the results of all these activities, the Oleico+ partnership prepared a document on policy improvement, and sought contributions at National and EU level as well as possible solutions for removing the identified barriers to the adoption of ecologically friendly technologies.

In fact, the project has created a direct channel for information exchanges among the people involved in the olive oil sector, making the policy makers conscious about the barriers to innovation and the entrepreneurs informed about new technologies suitable for the Olive Waste Management (OWM) developed worldwide. The co-operation between Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal allowed to share experiences and objectives, as well as identify common critical points in the OWM.

Further information on the project can be found in the project's layman report and After-LIFE Communication Plan (see "Read more" section).


Environmental issues addressed:


Waste - Agricultural waste
Information - Governance - Awareness raising - Information
Industry-Production - Food and Beverages
Waste - Industrial waste


vegetable oil‚  waste management‚  environmental awareness‚  industrial waste‚  edible fat‚  agricultural waste

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator Istituto Superiore di Ricerca e Formazione Sui Materiali per le Tecnologie Avanzate - ISRIM Scarl
Type of organisation Research institution
Description ISRIM (Istituto Superiore di Ricerca e Formizione sui Materiali Speciali per Tecnologie Avanzate) is a not-for-profit research and training institute with a focus on materials and the environment. Main environmental activities at ISRIM include the treatment of wastewater from industrial and agricultural processes; soil and water bioremediation; biotechnologies for environmental monitoring; process engineering; and training.
Partners Asociación Española de Municipios del Olivo, Spain LNEG (Laboratorio Nacional de Energia e Geologia), Portugal; ex Instituto Nacional de Engenharia, Tecnologia e Inovação, Portugal Technical University of Crete, Greece


Project reference LIFE07 INF/IT/000438
Duration 01-JAN-2009 to 31-DEC -2011
Total budget 1,003,636.00 €
EU contribution 500,413.00 €
Project location


Read more:

Project web site Project's website (IT/EN/ES/PT/GR)
Publication: After-LIFE Conservation Plan After-LIFE Conservation Plan
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Spanish version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Portuguese version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Italian version)
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Layman report Layman report (Greek version)
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report (short version)


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version