Manufacturing News

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

Manufacturing News

Samsara Eco and sportswear maker lululemon have announced a “multi-year collaboration” that involves lululemon taking a stake in the recycling technology company and Samsara processing used nylon 6,6 and polyester to be remade into garments.

In a statement on Friday, Samsara said that nylon and polyester represent about six-tenths of clothing made today, with around 87 per cent of all discarded textiles end up in landfill, the environment or an incinerator, and currently have no potential to be recycled.

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”.

It said the deal with lululemon would apply its technology to textile-to-textile recycling, with the recycled material able to be made in new clothes. The size of lululemon’s investment – which follows Samsara’s $54 million Series A round last year – was not disclosed.

“The ability to infinitely recycle textiles, including nylon, is an essential solution to tackle the enormous challenge of textile waste in the apparel industry,” said Samsara’s CEO and founder Paul Riley. 

“This is a massive milestone as Samsara Eco achieves an environmentally friendly ability to recycle blended textiles including nylon and polyester.”

Yogendra Dandapure, lululemon’s Vice President, Raw Materials Innovation, added: “Through Samsara Eco’s patented enzymatic process, we’re advancing transforming apparel waste into high quality nylon and polyester, which will help us live into our end-to-end vision of circularity.”  

Samsara has a goal of recycling 1.5 million tonnes of plastic per year by 2030.

The announcement represents Samsara’s first partnership with an apparel company, and lululemon’s first minority investment in a recycling company.

Samsara’s investors so far include Main Sequence, Woolworths Group’s venture capital arm W23, and Virescent Ventures. Its official launch in 2021 came with a commitment by Woolworths to buy 5,000 tonnes of material from Samsara for use in packaging.

Samsara will be profiled on Monday as a nominee in @AuManufacturing’s Australia’s 50 most innovative manufacturers campaign.

Picture: supplied

Further reading

Australian “Infinitely recyclable” plastic startup launched

“Infinite recycling” startup Samsara raises $54 million in Series A

Samsara aims for infinitely recyclable plastics

Digesting the issue: Woolies-backed startup prepares to set its enzymes on our waste plastic

Share this Story
Manufacturing News

Stay Informed

Go to Top