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Plastic Recycling
Case study

Samsara Eco scales up infinite recycling for plastic waste

Ending plastic pollution with its plastic-eating enzymes 

Samsara Eco, an Australian company developing a process to break down plastics to their original building blocks, has an innovative approach to recycling that reduces emissions through reducing plastic waste in landfill.

$9.1m 

CEFC commitment

Australian Hero

InnovationAus awards

Plastics

recycling

The current approach to recycling is simply inefficient and ill-equipped to handle the plastic pollution crisis we are faced with today. If we are serious about changing our ways, we need a new approach to how plastic is made and recycled. Instead of mining for fossil fuels to create new plastics or relying on current recycling methods which sees only about nine per cent actually recycled, we can take plastic that already exists and infinitely recycle it.
Paul Riley
CEO and Founder, Samsara

Our investment

The CEFC was an early investor in the company in May 2022 and has committed a total of $9.1 million to Samsara Eco through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund, managed by Virescent Ventures.

 

Samsara Eco has raised more than $150 million through two successful Series A funding rounds which have attracted investment from CSIRO deep tech fund Main Sequence, Temasek, Wollemi Capital, lulemon, Hitachi Ventures, Titanium Ventures and DVC Woolworths venture capital and innovation fund W23. Additional capital also came from Breakthrough Victoria, Assembly Climate Capital, DCVC and INP Capital. 

 

Samsara Eco technology is capable of breaking plastic into core molecules in minutes, regardless of colour, type and state. After being broken down to its original components, the resulting product can be sold in pelletised form.

 

World-first for textile-to-textile recycling

Partnering with activewear brand Lululemon, Samsara Eco unveiled the world’s first enzymatically recycled nylon 6,6 product in February 2024, marking a key milestone in textile-to-textile recycling. Nylon 6,6 is used by Lululemon in leisure wear and yoga leggings and is commonly used for the production of sportswear because of its durability and toughness, which also makes it hard to recycle.

The Samsara Eco EosEco technology breaks down nylon 6,6 synthetic blends by harnessing engineered enzymes, recreating nylon 6,6 that can then be turned back into apparel. Lululemon has herald the breakthrough as signalling “not only a turning point for sustainable innovation in apparel, but for all industries looking to shift towards more circular models.

Read more about Samsara Eco

our impact

Global plastic use is expected to double by 2040, with the majority of plastic sent to landfill, and only 13 per cent recycled.

The manufacture of plastics is a significant source of carbon emissions, in part due to the use of fossil fuels used during the extraction and transportation processes.

Current mechanical recycling requires clear and clean plastics, excluding millions of tonnes of coloured plastics. The process means plastics can only be broken down for reuse a limited number of times due to structural degradation.

Recycling revolution

Working in partnership with the Australian National University, Samsara has developed a new way to infinitely recycle plastic using enzymes to break plastic down to core building blocks that can be used to recreate plastic again and again.

The process uses modified enzymes to rapidly degrade plastic down to small molecules, ensuring recycled plastics materials have the same structural integrity as virgin plastics. The technology is particularly useful in recycling heterogeneous mixes of hard to recycle plastics, including coloured, multilayered and mixed plastics.

Samsara Eco took out the Australian Hero category and the Energy and Renewables category at the InnovationAus 2022 Awards for Excellence for its innovative recycling solution. InnovationsAus describes its Australian Hero winner as the “absolute best of the best”, chosen from 38 finalists across 11 categories.

 According to Samsara, one tonne of recycled plastic saves 5,774 kWh of electricity; 2,593 litres of oil; 98 million btu (British thermal units) of energy and 23 cubic metres of landfill.

Read our Green Files article

 

Last updated July 2024. National, Waste/bioenergy, Climate tech, Industry, Low emissions
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