Australian enviro-tech start-up, Samsara Eco and athletic apparel, accessories and footwear brand, lululemon have together launched the first product made from enzymatically recycled polyester.

The lululemon limited edition Packable Anorak jacket is made from a variety of inputs, including mixed plastic waste, lululemon apparel at the end-of-life stage, and converted carbon emissions. The jacket is now available for purchase online in Australia, the US and Canada.

Polyester accounts for around 80% of the synthetic fibre market and equates to over 63 million tonnes made each year. It is lightweight, durable, versatile and resistant to fading, crinkling and stains, yet the vast majority of discarded polyester items end up in landfills, incinerated or leaked into the environment.

Samsara Eco’s patent pending recycling technology, EosEco uses a combination of biophysics, chemistry, biology and computer science including AI, to create plastic-eating enzymes. The enzymes break down waste into raw materials, which are then integrated into existing manufacturing processes to make new products — such as the lululemon Packable Anorak jacket. 

Samsara Eco CEO and founder, Paul Riley (above) said, You can’t solve the climate crisis until you solve the plastics crisis and putting an end to fashion waste is critical. Over 90% of fashion waste is currently a one-way ticket to incineration or landfill. Our latest work with lululemon shows the potential to give clothes an infinite life and prevent textiles from ending up in landfills.”

Samsara Eco’s recycling process can handle a variety of blended fabric and mixed bale feedstocks including poly/cotton and nylon/elastane blends, carpet fibres, zip ties and airbags. 

“We’re committed to maintaining a low carbon footprint during our EosEco enzymatic recycling process. We have optimised enzymes to efficiently recycle PET, polyester and nylon 6,6 at scale. But there are other plastics that need to be recycled, including soft plastics and mixed plastics. Our process has the potential to be used within existing cross-sector supply chains across industries like fashion, automotive and electronics,” Riley added.

Samsara Eco first partnered with lululemon in 2023, and earlier this year the companies unveiled the world’s first enzymatically recycled nylon 6,6 Swiftly long-sleeve top samples. The Packable Anorak jacket represents another breakthrough in textile-to-textile recycling and advancing a circular ecosystem. 

Samsara Eco chief commercial and operations officer, Sarah Cook added, “We’ve come together with lululemon to disrupt the current linear end-of-life pathway of plastic. We’ve demonstrated through the Packable Anorak jacket and Swiftly top sample that products made from enzymatically recycled nylon and polyester deliver the same performance and guest experience as products made with virgin fibres. Together, we’re making it possible to imagine a world where it’s possible to produce apparel without the need for virgin fibres.”

lululemon vice president of raw materials innovation, Yogendra Dandapure commented, “Our vision is to scale these technologies to address textile waste across our entire supply chain. This capsule product is a first step along this journey, helping us test and learn as we continue to advance circularity, which signals exciting possibilities for all industries looking to shift to more circular models.”