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Krzysztof Krajewski heads up our sustainable packaging team, creating exciting new innovations

Tell us a little more about you... 

My name is Krzysztof Krajewski and I am Director Packaging Sustainability in Hygiene, in Amsterdam.

I’m thrilled to head up this team, working ‘on the ground’ by supporting our packaging network leaders to speed up change as well as ‘behind the scenes’ by deep diving into breakthrough technologies of polymer science, putting us ahead of our competitors with exciting more sustainable packaging solutions.

What is innovation? What does Innovation mean to you? How do you define innovation?

Innovation starts with creativity and passion. Innovation embraces the art of creation, nourishing it until implementation. Having an idea, inventing and patenting it is a start but then turning it into living organisms makes it truly alive. At Reckitt, we turn our ideas into finished goods that improve our lives. In packaging, that’s the moment when the first production run of products hit the lead market launch shelves. And nothing is more uplifting than when you see your idea finally on shelf.

What do you think is the greatest innovation of all time? Who do you believe is the greatest innovator of all time?

Innovation for me is a continuous process of evolution. The most potent ideas are opening the whole new worlds for the next innovators. 

When we speak about innovation, often we hear names such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Elon Musk or Richard Branson but on top of my list I guess is the old man of Renaissance: Leonardo da Vinci. An artist, engineer, scientist, architect - you name it! Combining a true passion for life, exploding with ideas solving daily problems in such phenomenal aesthetical form. I wish my bottles were so innovative and pretty at the same time!

Leonardo was also an environmentalist ahead of his time. His deep engagement with natural world inspires me. Innovation must be sustainable – full stop.

Can you tell us more about your area of work? What does the process of innovation look like? How do you approach innovation?

My current area of work is packaging sustainability. With a critical eye, together with my team, we look at our portfolio of products and decompose all components to find out what we can do better. Can we lower total footprint of CO2? Can we substitute one of those components with new materials or simply lower the weight? We also make sure long term packaging innovation pipeline is future proofed for recycling.

We are also looking at breakthrough technologies dramatically changing packaging. We use one tool to evaluate all ideas – LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) - that tells us if new choices are truly lower on carbon emissions that legalises new launches from the scientific side.

Why does innovation matter? How do you succeed in innovation?

The world is evolving constantly. The new generations are coming with new perspectives and new lifestyles. This means we need to adapt and improve for the future, building on our heritage. In order to succeed in innovation, I believe we need to create as much as possible. The more ideas you create and try in real life, the better you are becoming in the skill of innovation.

What do you believe is Reckitt’s greatest innovation?

From my perspective, we are pioneering in the recyclable packaging and recycling content space. Finish’s “visual brand language” was brave enough to launch grey post-consumer recycled material (PCR) in its detergent tubs in 2019. Traditionally, grey recycled content has the best CO2 footprint score since its natural appearance and no need for additional processing. Together with Veolia we created our own grades for the PCR that meet all success criteria for launch. Find out more here.

Reckitt brought to the market one of the first recyclable materials we have developed with our partner DOW under Partners to Innovate program (PtI) as well as Drukpol. Flexo and then with Mondi. That was later in 2019 launching recyclable mono-material PE stand up pouches. In 2021 Reckitt is leading the way again by adding 30% PCR. Innovation strives with partnerships. Learn more here.

But as always, the greatest innovation is still to come!