Toys, furniture and walls from olive stones. Toys that can become bowls, chairs that grow plants, trade show stands that change shapes for every new edition.
Organic, biodegradable, reusable and highly fashionable, these are only the first three lines of application for Re Olivar, the new bioplastic based on olive stones.The basic mixture of collagen, vegetal glycerine and ground olive stone can be formed into a wide variety of textures and appearances, depending on both proportions and stone quality (granulate, powder or flour): from wood-like to transparent and remarkably malleable.All of them can be melted and reused again for the same or a different purpose with virtually no loss of material. “The customers can choose between discarding the final, biodegradable products or use their creativity to manufacture a new one from our material”, explains Silvana Catazine, co-developer of Re Olivar with Joseán Vilar. In their creative studio Naif Factory in Barcelona, they have already set up three lines of Re Olivar products with high customization potential.The bioplastic is available in different colours thanks to a dying process based on natural sources only: turmeric, avocado, indigo, cochineal, …
Toys with future
Among the articles with the shortest life span of the market, 90% of toys are made of plastic. As most of the last way longer than children’s interest in them, they have become an important source of plastic pollution. In search of a more sustainable alternative, many parents are turning to materials such as wood.
The granulate version of Re Olivar provides a similar look, texture and function while being much lighter. And, when tired of playing with the toy, the child can find another source of joy by figuring out how to transform it into a new object.
The first model is a 3D puzzle with colour inserts out of another version of the material. Naif Factory is preparing a crowdfunding campaign for the next month.
While researching the suitability of Re Olivar for decoration and small furniture, Catazine and Vilar designed a chair for children. And they decided to increase its sustainability with an option for the afterlife: embedded seeds. When the child outgrows the chair, she can bury it outdoors and watch a plant sprout out of her former toy. To round up the SDG approach of the project they are currently looking for foundations or enterprises with social inclusion programs as manufacturing partners.
Not so ephemeral architecture
Every year 4,4 million companies display their products at fairs and trade shows.
The search for stands that meet sustainable criteria has become an increasing challenge, with wood and plastic panels still leading the building materials.
Re Olivar panels allow for great versatility of shapes, textures and colours, can be reused time and again and their lightweight makes them more transport-friendly than wood.
Work for progress
Focused on design for the circular economy, the founders of Naif Factory define in their quest to foster local-based products, they turned to olives as their proof-of-concept raw material because Spain leads the world production with a 21% share. The stones –which make up 15% of an olive weight– have been traditionally neglected as waste, and only recently found their way into the cosmetic and mainly the biofuel industries.
Re Olivar bioplastics unfold a whole new realm of applications, which can be replicated with different local by-products in other parts of the world. That’s why the designers are already working with rice in the Valencia region or cassava peels in Brasil, while also trying new organic binders to add different qualities to the basic mixtures.
Re Olivar as a project with several ongoing research fields.
The no-waste, circular journey has just begun.