Lululemon and Samsara Eco Join Forces to Revolutionize Textile Recycling

Editorial TeamEditorial Team
May 23rd, 2023
2:21 PM

Apparel brand Lululemon has partnered with Samsara Eco to scale up textile-to-textile recycling and create infinitely recyclable nylon and polyester from apparel waste.

Apparel brand Lululemon has recently announced an exciting partnership with enviro-tech startup Samsara Eco, which is headquartered in Sydney, Australia. This multi-year collaboration aims to revolutionize textile-to-textile recycling by leveraging Samsara Eco's groundbreaking technology. The company has developed the world's first infinitely recyclable nylon 6.6 and polyester made from apparel waste.

Samsara Eco's innovative approach involves utilizing enzymes to break down complex plastic polymers and transform them back into their original monomer chemical building blocks. This process paves the way for efficient recycling of plastic waste.

To prepare the recycled materials for re-manufacturing into new plastics and fibers, a thorough cold washing is performed on the plastics waste, while hard plastics are chipped and textiles are shredded. The subsequent enzymatic depolymerization helps break down the materials further.

An important breakthrough lies in the ability to separate the brand-new monomers from any other additives, including colorants. This represents a significant departure from traditional recycling methods, which struggle to recycle colored plastics or mixed bales. This game-changing aspect enhances the overall sustainability of the process.



Addressing Textile Waste and Promoting Sustainability

Nylon and polyester collectively constitute approximately 60% of the clothing produced today. Consequently, the development of a method to infinitely recycle textiles, including nylon, presents a crucial solution to address the pressing issue of textile waste within the apparel industry.

Paul Riley, CEO and founder of Samsara Eco emphasized the importance of the ability to recycle textiles endlessly, particularly nylon, in combatting the significant challenges posed by textile waste.

Yogendra Dandapure, Vice President of Raw Materials Innovation at Lululemon, acknowledged the tremendous potential of nylon recycling in achieving their sustainable product goals for 2030. Lululemon views Samsara Eco's patented enzymatic process as a significant advancement toward transforming apparel waste into high-quality nylon and polyester.

This partnership marks Samsara Eco's first collaboration within the apparel industry, following their successful $56 million Series A funding round last year. Their ambitious aim is to recycle 1.5 million tons of plastic annually by 2030. Overall, this partnership between Lululemon and Samsara Eco signifies a pivotal step forward in addressing textile waste and promoting sustainable practices within the apparel industry.


Certifications for Textile Recycling

There are several reputable certifications for recycled textiles that ensure sustainability and environmental standards are met. Some of the best certifications for recycled textiles include:

Global Recycled Standard (GRS): GRS is a globally recognized certification that verifies the recycled content of a product and ensures its environmental and social responsibility throughout the supply chain.

Recycled Claim Standard (RCS): RCS is another widely recognized certification that verifies the presence and percentage of recycled materials in a product. It also ensures transparency and traceability in the supply chain.