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How can we generate new materials for luxury based on a bio-circular regional approach?

For every ton of olives we grow, we can extract 0.2 tons of olive oil, leaving 0.8 tons of olive pomace which contains large amounts of potentially hazardous substances and phytotoxic compounds. Disposing of olive pomace safely poses serious environmental concerns. Portuguese-based architect Olivia Page and material designer Riina Õun chose to explore the potential of olive pomace for material fabrication: in Portugal alone, 800 000 tons of waste pomace is generated every year. The design concept then expanded to sourcing a broader range of regional Portuguese agricultural waste and renewable raw materials to produce a final collection of bio-circular tiles for luxury stores. Ingredients include propolis waste (in Portugal 90% of propolis is thrown away), olive pomace, beehive waste, alginate, and labdanum wax derived from abundant local Cistus plants. The final material collection showcases how different combinations of these ingredients can lead to a wide range of solid materials with different colours and finishes. The olive pomace has also been successfully tested as a ceramic glaze on a traditional clay base tile.

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