Lululemon Unveils 'Infinite Recycling' Sustainability Plans


Lululemon is embarking on a multiyear plan to boost circularity by creating “infinitely recycled” nylon and polyester materials. 

The company is teaming up with Australian enviro-tech startup Samsara Eco to drive the efforts, concentrating on reducing waste across its value chain by leveraging lower-impact alternatives into essential materials. The companies are calling the “textile-to-textile” collaboration the first of its kind within the performance apparel sector. 

Yogendra Dandapure, VP, raw materials innovation at Lululemon, said that the technology’s enzymatic process will allow the brand to transform apparel waste into nylon and polyester, boosting end-to-end circularity — a longtime vision of the company.

The eco-tech start-up outlines how the majority (60%) of apparel produced today is composed of nylon and polyester, and that the vast majority of these waste textiles (87%) are released back into the environment either through incineration or in landfills. Samsara Eco’s solution targets these waste streams, breaking down the plastics in mixed apparel textiles and refashioning the molecules into new materials. 

The Move To Net Zero, Nylon-Free 

It's hoped that the partnership — Samsara’s first drive into the clothing sector and Lululemon’s first minority investment in a recycling company — will drastically reduce carbon emissions and overall reliance on fossil fuels. “Nylon remains our biggest opportunity to achieve our 2030 sustainable product goals,” Dandapure added.

The move away from traditional nylon production has stayed in the company’s sights for some time. In April, Lululemon debuted its first products made from renewably sourced, plant-based nylon, which involves the use of fermenting plant sugars to create the chemical compounds used to make the nylon alternative.

More broadly, the company has channeled efforts into its Like New resale, trade-in, and re-commerce program, allowing shoppers to swap their clothing for gift cards both in-store and online.

Did You Know?

This fall, CGT sister brands RIS News and Retail Leader are joining forces to debut Value Chain Tech, a unique new annual event focused on the technologies that power the key pillars of value chain success: Agility. Resiliency. Collaboration. Sustainability.