How a Washroom Engineer Reimagined Hand Towel Core Plugs to Support Sustainability
The brains behind Kimberly-Clark Professional’s (KCP) new ground-breaking 100 per cent bio-based and recyclable core plug is talented engineer Loic Wozny, who joined the global personal care team 11 years ago and is now Lead Engineer for Hand Towel, Bath Tissue and Wiper in the B2B division of Kimberly-Clark across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Loic enjoys playing a leading part in what he describes as KCP’s ‘engine room’ and his ultimate goal is to develop products that meet the high expectations of our customers.
He says: “Working in R&D allows you to be creative, while ensuring products meet our customers’ needs, and also being part of the ‘engine room’ of our company. So, this balance of technical matters and customer facing activities makes R&D one of the most versatile roles you can have.
“I think one of my strengths is to make different worlds work together, bringing technical insights to the business and fitting business needs into product development. What is inspiring is that I know I have an impact on our company’s future and also on our customers. I am making things that make a difference.”
Describing the journey to developing the core plug, Loic recalls: “The initial ambition was to be proactive about reducing plastic usage, so that we would comply with any requirements of the UK/EU plastic pacts, as well as the French AGEC law. We originally thought of using bio-plastics as an alternative material, but after consulting customers we realised segregating the plug and core was not straightforward and may impact on their recycling targets.
“So I decided to change the project scope and go 100 per cent natural. This was a challenge, and the business were supportive of this change in scope. The biggest benefit of our new product is the reduced environmental impact, as we will now avoid using 30.5 tonnes of plastic. The other big advantage is that we will help increase our customers’ recycling rates as we have made it easier for them to recycle plug and core together”.
The creation of a 100 per cent natural product is something Loic is particularly proud of as, he believes, sustainability must now be mandatory, and not just a nice to have, in the corporate world.
“Our planet is suffering from our human impact,” he says. “I desperately want my daughter to live in a better world. I try to do my part, personally, and at work, as I have the chance to be able to change things and to influence to make them better”.
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