Anita Heinzke, ChE’10, thinks outside the shampoo bottle.
That creative thinking earned Heinzke, a project engineer in L’Oreal’s Florence, Ky., hair care facility, a $5,000 Beauty Shakers award from the company. Her suggestion — to use corn plastic in L’Oreal shampoo packaging — took third place out of more than 900 submissions in the company’s annual ideas competition.
“Corn plastic is a 100 percent biodegradable material that has a lot of environmental benefits,” says Heinzke, who works with the lines that fill bottles with shampoo. “Most plastic is made from oil, but this type is made from corn. It could potentially save hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil annually by switching our products alone to this material.”
Heinzke is helping the company with its recent launch of the new restage of the L’Oreal shampoo line, Advanced Haircare. It required the purchase of $6 million in new equipment and the installation of four packaging lines that were modified to handle the capacity.
“L’Oreal is a company that gives its employees a lot of opportunity and freedom to be creative,” Heinzke says. “The company has a strong passion for promoting women in science. Every day there is something new and challenging.”