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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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An innovative collaboration for microplastics research

The Quadpack Foundation collaborates with an academy to support the development of solutions addressing plastic pollution.

Quadpack Foundation, the charitable arm of international cosmetics and perfumery packaging manufacturer and supplier Quadpack, has partnered with UAB Research Park, the non-profit organization co-created by the Autonomous University of Barcelona, to support scientific research on microplastics and their effects on people and the environment. The foundation sponsored the 12th edition of Generació d'Idees (Generation of Ideas), an initiative that aims to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit and culture of innovation among researchers and doctoral students by putting them in touch with current industry challenges.

Between September and December 2021, multidisciplinary research groups participated in co-creation sessions and received entrepreneurship training, mentoring coaching and prototyping support. Then, the program held a competition in which participants presented their project to a jury made up of academics, industry experts and members of the general public.

The award for the best innovative idea went to MP Food Watching, a solution that uses hyperspectral imaging technology to detect and better visualize the presence of microplastics in food. Presented as a cost-effective and fast solution for the food chain, the project won €1,000 to launch a crowdfunding campaign, mentoring coaching, support for dissemination on social networks and six months of incubation at UAB Open Labs, the university's open innovation network.

Qu4tre, a group of researchers involving Quadpack engineers Roger Oller and Mariola Rodríguez, won the people's choice award with the Omnibox project, a reusable container for municipal markets, including a logistics plan for distribution, take-back and cleaning to offer a zero-waste solution. The group received a six-month incubation and support for social media outreach.

"We are aware of the responsibility we carry as an industry and want to be part of the solution. By connecting with researchers and sharing the challenges we face, we can move forward together towards a healthier world and make a positive impact on future generations," says Marta Gil, Quadpack Foundation Manager.

Microplastics are fragments smaller than 5 mm from the rupture of larger plastic parts or that are made of microspheres for hygiene and cleaning products. The many applications of plastic in industry, combined with poor waste management, have increased microplastic pollution exponentially. It is currently considered a major environmental problem that affects ocean life, terrestrial wildlife and human health.

Photo: From left to right, Quadpack CFO Bardo Bevelander, Quadpack engineers Mariola Rodríguez and Roger Oller, and Quadpack Foundation Manager Marta Gil.

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