Australian enviro-tech start-up Samsara Eco has announced a partnership with athletic apparel brand Lululemon with the aim of revolutionising circularity in the apparel industry.

The multi-year collaboration will focus on textile-to-textile recycling and mark the creation of what Samsara Eco describes as the “world’s first infinitely recycled nylon 6,6 and polyester”.

By leveraging Samsara Eco innovations, the partnership hopes to introduce lower-impact alternatives to crucial materials in the performance apparel sector.

Samsara Eco explains three fifths (60%) of clothing produced today is composed of nylon and polyester. The company adds the vast majority of discarded textiles (around 87%) either end up in landfill, get incinerated or leak into the environment. Until now, it says there has been no effective method for recycling these materials.

Samsara Eco believes its innovation represents a milestone in addressing plastic pollution and carbon emissions associated with textiles. By breaking down mixed apparel derived from plastic into its core molecules, Samsara Eco says it can recreate brand-new apparel repeatedly. As a result, this solution reduces reliance on fossil fuels but also contributes to tackling the climate crisis.

Paul Riley, CEO and founder of Samsara Eco expressed pride in the disruptive nature of this partnership, stating: “The ability to infinitely recycle textiles, including nylon, is an essential solution to tackle the enormous challenge of textile waste in the apparel industry. Together with Lululemon, Samsara Eco is creating enzymatically recycled nylon and accelerating textile-to-textile recycling toward truly circular apparel.”

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Yogendra Dandapure, vice president of raw materials innovation at Lululemon adds: “Nylon remains our biggest opportunity to achieve our 2030 sustainable product goals. 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.”

According to Samsara, the partnership represents Lululemon’s first-ever minority investment in a recycling company, highlighting its commitment to sustainability. It also marks Samsara Eco’s initial foray into the apparel industry.

Following a successful $56m Series A funding round last year, the partnership and investment from Lululemon comes at a pivotal moment as Samsara Eco prepares for commercialisation and strives to bring infinite recycling potential to the fashion industry.

Samsara Eco says it serves as a crucial milestone in its roadmap, targeting the recycling of 1.5 million tonnes of plastic annually by 2030.

Lululemon remained upbeat as its sales jumped during the fourth quarter despite higher costs denting profit for the period and the full year.