lululemon and Samsara Eco Unveil World’s First Enzymatically Recycled Nylon 6,6 Product

Athletic apparel retailer lululemon, in partnership with Australian enviro-tech startup, Samsara Eco, has unveiled the world’s first enzymatically recycled nylon 6,6 product, marking a key milestone in textile-to-textile recycling and lululemon’s work to create a circular ecosystem.

Using recycled nylon 6,6 made with Samsara Eco’s technology, lululemon has created samples of its iconic Swiftly Tech Long-Sleeve Top, representing the first time this type of nylon has been recycled in this way.

Nylon 6,6 is a foundational fiber used by lululemon to create many of its bestselling products such as the Align and Wunder Train leggings. Today, recycled nylon is generally made from post-industrial material waste, and recycled alternatives that align with lululemon’s product performance standards are only available in limited quantities.

Samsara Eco’s technology breaks down nylon 6,6 synthetic blends by harnessing engineered enzymes, recreating nylon 6,6 that can then be turned back into apparel.

“The lululemon Swiftly top samples go beyond material innovation – they represent the exciting possibilities and impact that can be achieved through collaboration and cross-industry partnership,” said Yogendra Dandapure, Vice President, Raw Materials Innovation at lululemon. “This breakthrough not only signals a turning point for sustainable innovation in apparel, but for all industries looking to shift towards more circular models. We look forward to continuing to work with Samsara Eco to help scale this new technology in the months and years ahead.”

Over 90% of the nylon used in each of the lululemon Swiftly top samples is produced using Samsara Eco’s enzymatic recycling process, and the samples offer the same fit, feel and quality guests expect from lululemon products. The Swiftly samples also illustrate the company’s end-to-end vision of circularity by taking lululemon nylon apparel at the end-of-life stage —including lululemon leggings—and combining it with other non-textile materials to create recycled nylon for use in new lululemon products.  

“Our work with lululemon represents a groundbreaking step forward in tackling the challenge of textile waste and demonstrates the potential to create a fully circular ecosystem for apparel,” said Paul Riley, CEO and Founder of Samsara Eco. “We’ve started with nylon 6,6, but this sets the trajectory of what’s possible for recycling across a range of industries as we continue expanding our library of plastic-eating enzymes. This is an incredibly significant moment for the future of sustainable fashion and circularity.”

This milestone in lululemon’s multi-year collaboration with Samsara Eco is one way lululemon is advancing its goal to make 100% of products with preferred materials and end of use solutions by 2030.