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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.


CEFC commitment

Australian Hero

InnovationAus awards



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 has committed $9.1 million to Samsara Eco through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund managed by Virescent Ventures.

Samsara Eco has also attracted investment from CSIRO deep tech fund Main Sequence, Woolworths venture capital and innovation fund W23, Breakthrough Victoria, Temasek, 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 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.” 

Samsara Eco expansion plans 

Following a $54 million Series A funding round, the Australian enviro-tech startup said it was planning to: 

·         Build its first commercial plastics recycling facility in Melbourne, with the capacity to infinitely recycle 20,000 tonnes of plastic  

·         Expand its engineering team and develop its library of plastic-eating enzymes 

·         Launch its first enzymatically recycled packaging in partnership with the Woolworths Group, which has committed to use the packaging for own brand products. 

·         Recycle 1.5 million tonnes of plastic per annum by 2030. 

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 March 2024. National, Waste/bioenergy, Climate tech, Industry, Low emissions
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