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Samsara, lululemon debut results of nylon recycling R&D

Manufacturing News

Enzymatic recycling startup Samsara Eco and sportswear company lululemon have debuted the first results of a partnership announced in May last year: samples of a long-sleeve top made of recovered nylon 6,6. 

In a statement on Wednesday, Samsara said the Swiftly Tech Long-Sleeve Top was both a world first and “a key milestone that brings the fashion industry one step closer to creating a circular ecosystem.”

Samsara is commercialising an “enzymatic depolymersiation” approach to recycling, which uses synthetic microbes to convert plastics back into monomers which can then be reused. It calls the approach “infinite recycling”.

According to the statement, the new garment showed it was possible to take old lululemon nylon items, combine these with other non-textile materials, and create recycled nylon for use in new products. More than 90 per cent of the nylon in each sample was recycled.

Nylon 6,6 had been a challenge to recycle due to its “tough, heavy-duty properties” which see it used in a broad range of industries.. 

“Until now, textile-to-textile nylon 6,6 has been unrecyclable. The samples we have created with lululemon represent a world-first breakthrough for the future of textile waste,” said Paul Riley, CEO and Founder of Samsara Eco.

“Our work with lululemon shows the potential to give clothes an infinite life.” 

Sarah Cook (pictured), Chief Commercial and Operations Officer of Samsara Eco, added that the recycling solution was the only one on the market “that allows the textile industry to unlock nylon 6,6 amongst mixed feedstocks to prevent textiles from ending up in landfills.”

Picture: supplied

Further reading

Samsara’s plastic eating enzymes get a new laboratory

Sending a computer-designed “Pac-Man” army into the war on waste

Samsara’s designer enzymes to turn old plastics into new sportswear

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