This communication describes how olive solid wastes can be used to prepare activated carbon (AC), with
soundly high surface areas, suitable to remove nitrite ions from water. Solid olive wastes, so called Jeft,
separated as unwanted bi-products from olive oil mills, have been converted into charcoal. The charcoal
was then physically and/or chemically activated using different compounds namely conc. H3PO4 or ZnCl2.
Charcoal carbonization was performed under inert atmosphere to avoid loss of heated carbon by
oxidation with air. Surface area measurements and SEM micrographs showed that activation using ZnCl2
yields AC with highest surface area and more porous surfaces. The ZnCl2-activated carbon was then used
to remove nitrite ions from water by adsorption. Effects of different parameters on value of surface area
and adsorption capacity of the AC were investigated. Commercial AC materials were used as reference for
comparison. The AC showed higher adsorption capacity toward nitrite than other reported adsorbents.
The results suggest that using 5 g of the ZnCl2-activated carbon per liter of heavily nitrite-contaminated
water (50 ppm) may bring the contaminant concentration down to the WHO accepted concentration
limits within 60 min. This work highlights the future feasibility of using olive waste as feed stocks to
produce useful renewable materials while keeping in mind the wisdom “make wastes work in environmental