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Datenbank der Projekte zur ländlichen Entwicklung

Composting Plant Adds Value to Waste Products


This is a Spanish cooperative project to build a composting plant to recycle olive oil production by-products for use as nutrients in olive groves. The project enhances soil quality and reduces the potential polluting capacity of such by-products.




The province of Jaén is known for its ‘white soil’ that produces high quality olive oil. The cooperative organisation in the Los Noguerones area, which has 837 members, is dedicated to continuous improvement of the olive oil production process. The cooperative uses an integrated production mill in the olive oil extraction process. The process results in a by-product, known as olive cake, which can pollute the soil and water systems if not managed correctly.


The main project objective is twofold: to recycle waste products and to support organic olive farming. More specifically, the organic by-products from the olive oil factory are recycled through the composting technique. These recycled by-products are given back to olive grove farms for use as nutrients, thus making the production system more sustainable in the long run by reducing dependency on chemical fertilisers.

Main activities

The project targets the members of the cooperative and uses the existing integrated production mill to add value to waste products. The main activities involved the construction of a composting plant to process the olive cake together with the leaves cleaned from the olives, olive tree pruning residues and some liquid effluent from the mill. The composting plant is complemented by a canal and irrigation system for the compost.

Results & Benefits

The main outcome is the production of compost for olive growers who are in the process of converting to organic farming. There is also an overall environmental benefit for the wider rural area due to: conversion of a polluting product into one that can be instead used as an input for different agricultural crops; elimination of nitrate pollution in aquifers; and the use of compost next to green cover zones which minimises erosive processes and contributes to soil improvement in olive farms.

Lessons learnt

The cooperative has benefited from this new recycling method which delivers both economic and environmental benefits. The positive results of using recycled compost for organic olive production serves as an example for other olive growers who are interested in converting to organic production. In addition, the project demonstrates that the reduction of phytosanitary treatment can also bring about economic savings.

Project location and other information

Alcaudete-Los Noguerones, Province of Jaén.



RDP Territory


Total project cost (€)

223 379

EAFRD contribution (€)

65 472

National contribution (€)

28 059

Private contribution (€)

129 847

Project website

Contact name

Antonio Ortega Serrano


+34 953 707 004, +34 605 983 727

Languages for contact


At a glance



Final beneficiary type

Producer groups

Budget range

€100 000 - €500 000

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Competitiveness of Agriculture & Forestry
• Restructuring, developing physical potential, and promoting innovation
• 123. Adding value to agricultural and forestry products


Added-value, Olives, Organic farming, Agricultural waste, Recycling

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