Every year, Europe produces around 58 million tonnes of plastic and 25 million tonnes are wasted. From this, only 30% is collected for recycling, with 39% being incinerated and 31% ending in landfills. This implies that every year, 95% of the value of plastic packaging (worth around 105 billion euros) is lost.
According to the European Commission, plastic is here today and it is here to stay. So, the answer is not to get rid of all the plastics, but rather a New Plastic Economy is needed. This should be a circular economy which eliminates waste, maximises value, and uses plastic efficiently. A system in which materials are designed to be used, not used up. Results? A better protection of our environment, reduction of marine litter, greenhouse emissions and also our dependence on imported fossil fuels.
The Ellen Macarthur Foundation has proposed some ideas to accelerate the transition to a circular economy for plastic, like redesigning the entire plastics system. The Foundation also proposes to innovate to ensure that the plastics we need are reusable, recyclable, or compostable.
So, how do we create a circular economy for plastic? By eliminating all problematic and unnecessary plastic items, innovating as explained above and by circulating all the plastic items we use to keep them in the economy and out of the environment.
The MANDALA project presents a sustainable solution for the plastic packaging sector, focusing on 3 fundamental pillars: eco-design, adhesives with double functionality and end of life, with the aim of finding a sustainable and effective solution for multilayer packaging in the medium term. The main objective of the project is to demonstrate the feasibility of this multilayer packaging as part of the circular economy.