Olive tree waste put to good use in car manufacturing industry


An example of a component made partly from olive tree waste. Photo: AFP

Carmakers are increasingly looking to make car interiors greener. One way of doing this involves incorporating waste from olive tree harvesting into the manufacture of certain interior and trunk parts for new vehicle models. And this is not the first time that waste has been used in this way in the automotive industry.

In addition to producing fruit, oil and tapenade, some olive trees are now being used in the manufacture of parts for the automotive industry. Ford, for example, is using branches, twigs and leaves discarded during the harvesting process to create more sustainable parts.

This waste is currently collected in Andalusia, in southern Spain. It is then transformed into biocomposites, in the form of small granules, composed of 40% of these olive tree fibres and 60% recycled polypropylene plastic. These are then moulded into various robust parts for the passenger cabin and trunk.

This initiative, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of automotive manufacturing, has many advantages, starting with the reduction in the amount of plastic used in these parts.

For several years, the automotive industry has been seeking to innovate by incorporating parts made from recycled waste products into the design of their latest models. This has been the case, for example, with Skoda, which has produced seat covers from wool and disposable plastic bottles.

For its part, Jaguar Land Rover has begun integrating components made from 100% recycled Econyl nylon, essentially made from landfill waste or waste recovered from the sea, such as fishing nets.

These include floor mats and upholstery components. The same manufacturer also offers eucalyptus fibre upholstery on certain vehicle models.

Finally, Volvo and Volkswagen are looking to move away from leather to upholstery made from recycled materials, mainly plastic bottles.

Electric car batteries will soon feature more recycled elements. – AFP Relaxnews

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