We have had the opportunity to talk with our Project Coordinator and Aitiip R&D Manager, Mrs. Berta Gonzalvo. Berta is a Mechanical Engineer and Senior Researcher from the Universidad de Zaragoza, expert in design and manufacturing products and its moulds.
What is the origin of Mandala Project? If you had to summarise the project’s main goal in a few words what would them be?
Mandala Project has its roots in a real problem: the world recycles only 14% of the plastic packaging and 72% is not recovered at all: 40% is landfilled and 32% leaks out of the collection system. In this context, EU institutions realized that it was extremely urgent to research on this field and MANDALA project is the response to that issue: we try to demonstrate the feasibility of a Circular Economy for multilayer packaging.
If I had to summarise the project in a few words, they would be research, sustainability, eco-design, profitability, technology, and the importance of a public-private partnership.
What are the biggest challenges that the team has faced during the project lifetime?
The biggest challenge is the technical-scientific task. Multilayer packaging reliably ensures high-quality and fresh food products thanks to its properties. It protects the products and keeps them hygienic, thereby extending the shelf life of food. It is also necessary for pharma sector. But this current multilayer packaging is not recyclable, and the end-of-life is either incineration or landfilled.
To face this problem, MANDALA proposes a combination of novel product and technology that is efficient for the delamination of multilayer packaging, making it circular, whereas it keeps the quality standards to guarantee consumer safety.
Which are the main sectors to which this project is envisaged?
One of the main objectives of the Project is to validate MANDALA packaging prototypes in two sectors: food (meat and ready-to-eat meals) and pharma (blisters for pills and pharma trays coverings) contributing to the creation of one new circular value chain.
How can Mandala Project change the future of the plastic packaging sector?
MANDALA proposes a disruptive solution for the plastic packaging sector that tackles 3 pillars: eco-design, dual functionality & end-of-life. It can change the future of the sector, making sustainable multilayer containers and reducing their environmental footprint. In other words, MANDALA can make an outstanding contribution demonstrating the viability of a Circular Economy for multilayer packaging.