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The transition of MultilAyer/multipolymer packagiNg into more sustainable multilayer/single polymer products for the fooD and phArma sectors through the deveLopment of innovative functional Adhesives

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MANDALA (The transition of MultilAyer/multipolymer packagiNg into more sustainable multilayer/single polymer products for the fooD and phArma sectors through the deveLopment of innovative functional Adhesives)

Reporting period: 2019-06-01 to 2020-11-30

The world recycles only 14% of the plastic packaging it uses and 72% is not recovered at all: 40% is landfilled and 32% leaks out of the collection system. Today 95% of the value of plastic packaging material is lost after a short, single-use cycle.

The MANDALA project presents a sustainable solution for the plastic packaging sector which tackles 3 pillars: eco-design, dual functionality & end-of-life; with the aim to find, in the mid-term, a final solution based on multilayer monomaterial film packaging with functionalities compared to multimaterial film and fully produced with biobased & recycled polymers in order to reach a full circularity of resources. Also, another objective is the validation of industrial products based on the use of MANDALA prototypes production with optimum performance/cost ratio for the food (meat and ready-to-eat meals) and pharma (blisters for pills and pharma trays coverings) sectors.

MANDALA project aims to find a solution that decreases the end-of-life costs and CO2 emissions in more than a 30%.

The social acceptance of MANDALA products is a drawing force for the development and the study on new “bio”- and recycled materials. It includes interaction with consumer association (such as OCU) and consumer platforms (MUNDO-SABOR. Which is the internal platform that our partner CTIC-CITA owns and uses for validation with food consumers), food and pharmacompanies and clusters (FOOD+I, COMETICS) or EFSA members.

Increasing the recycling of plastics will have a positive effect on EU employment. It is estimated that approximately 65,400 new jobs could be created directly in the plastics packaging recycling value chain by 2025, with over 50,000 additional indirect jobs supporting the sector and its operations. MANDALA project will directly contribute to create employment in EU in this new circular after-use plastics economy. Only during the first three years of exploitation, 20 new direct jobs have been estimated that will be created and the creation of more than 1800 indirect jobs from direct partner supply chain.
CTIC-CITA has been involved in the definition of the specifications and requirements by end-users (D1.1) with support from COSMETIC.

Regarding the development of functional adhesives, CSIC-ICTP prepared new D-A adducts based on commercial dimaleimides and furfuryl alcohol by different synthetic methods. The D-A adducts were also incorporated into the solvent-based isocyanate prepolymer provided by SAPICI. Additionally, the synthesis of the D-A compounds has been carried out using MW radiation-assisted methodologies in order to significantly reduce the reaction time. The incorporation of carbon-based nanoparticles into the adhesive to augment the efficiency of the retro D-A reaction (subtask 1.2.2) and improve the barrier properties (subtask 1.2.3) were evaluated and the best ones determined. The synthesis conditions for the preparation of two thermoreversible DA adducts were optimized. The protocols for the preparation of both adducts are reported in D1.2. The effect of the retro DA reaction on the physical properties of the adhesive was assessed and the important role of the nanoparticles was confirmed. The protocols for the incorporation of graphene nanoparticles into the new solvent based PUR adhesives are also reported in D1.2.

The development of films has started. AITIIP has produced films of different thicknesses of LDPE, PET, rLDPE, rPET, PLA, Sample 1 and BioLDPE. Those films were sent to CSIC, SAPICI, ARCHA and NORNER for starting their corresponding task with the films. NORNER has finalised the characterisation of the films performing OTR, VWTR, CO2TR tests and tested mechanical and optical properties.
SAPICI has started the first lamination trials. Gaviplas has worked in finding a solution for this type of treatment and has carried out the corresponding tasks to ensure they can perform lamination at lab scale following SAPICI´s guidelines. CADEL has worked on the optimization of the delamination process, working on different materials and combinations of laminates to establish a comparative framework.

Regarding the work carried out in WP4, there has been a first definition of Key Exploitable Results (Deliverable D4.1) and the ownership and exploitation rights has started to be discussed among partners (IPRs). More details in section 2 of this report.

Finally, in relation to WP6 (coordinated by AITIIP), one amendment was managed. The reasons for the amendment were to terminate the participation of former partner REPSOL (it must be remarked that although REPSOL withdrawn its participation in MANDLA the company has provided a supply agreement and the communication channel is open). The other reason for the amendment is the delay of some tasks and deliverables due to the COVID19 outbreak in Europe. In addition, Deliverables D6.1 (Project Handbook and Quality Assurance Plan), D6.2 (Project Collaborative Space) and Deliverable D6.3 (Innovative Plan – 1st update) have been submitted.
The main ambition of MANDALA project is to advance beyond the state-of-the-art (SoA) in the development of a new reversible PUR adhesive applied for the first time as bonding/debonding system to produce separable and functional multilayer packaging and demonstrate its functionality under different product prototypes for the food and pharma sectors. To obtain the prototypes MANDALA partners need to transform this research into an innovation by up-scaling the delamination and washing concept into a pilot semi-industrial line and validate full separation and recovery of the polymer layers and the adhesive components to be either recycled (preferable on major case of study) or biodegraded (for certain case study). Finally the project aims at assessing guidelines for the eco-design of multilayer materials that are recyclable or biodegradable.
Expected impact:

- KPI8 ‘TRL gain’ will be achieved when up-scaling and running the new delamination module (WP2). It is expected that this technology will pass from TRL3 to TRL5 within MANDALA project.
- KPI2: contribute to the creation of at least one value chain: MANDALA contributes to create 1 new value chain: “The Circular VC”, by introducing novelties in 3 current value chains: Chemicals VC + Packaging VC + Waste Management VC.
- 30% decrease in End-of-life costs: due to the implementation of delamination step in the recycling process being highly competitive in the market (250€/tonne 33% cheaper than benchmarks) and due to the introduction of recycled polymers into the economy 54% saving.
- 30% decrease in environmental footprint is expected to be achieved thanks to the increase in recycling: not only mechanically for other sectors but chemically (87% saving), and the delamination step will allow to remove inks located between layers and that cannot be reached and recycled in other way (35%
- KPI1 (fostering interactions among sectors in a value chain where they had not collaborated before):From 5 defined categories or clusters, new 3 interconnections have been created among Recycling sector and End-users (food and pharma), plastic sector, and biodegradable & compostable sector.
- KPI6: MANDALA “Set the basis for” 2 new consumer products: films for meat and ready to eat food & pill blisters.
- Contribute to socio-economic impacts: 20 direct jobs & 1800 Indirect jobs
Conventional Flexible Packaging
MANDALA Project Overview