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Leon Kaye headshot

Lululemon Takes an Upward Facing-Dog on Fabric Made from Recycled Emissions

The athleisure giant Lululemon recently announced that it will partner with LanzaTech to develop yarn and textiles made out of recycled carbon emissions.
By Leon Kaye

Twyla: “I didn't know they'd make us change out of our own workout clothes.”

Jocelyn: “Yeah, I kinda wish I knew that before I spent all that money on my LuLu Limes.”

No, this wasn’t overheard at yet another high-end yoga studio, just banter from the final season of Schitt’s Creek. But speaking of workout clothes, in the coming years we can expect to see more athleisure wear, and all types of apparel, period, become made out of materials that are sourced by carbon emissions.

To that end, the real Lulu Lime, i.e. Lululemon, recently announced that it will partner with LanzaTech to develop yarn and textiles made out of recycled carbon emissions that if not captured, would otherwise be released into the atmosphere as pollution.

According to LanzaTech, it can capture carbon from various feedstocks, including synthetic gas, industrial emissions, agricultural and household waste, not to mention other sources of carbon that have already been emitted into the atmosphere. Microorganisms that the company has developed can then transform those carbon molecules into ethanol and other base ingredients that will eventually become fabric.

The result is a synthetic material that yoga devotees - and really anyone who works out regularly can tell you – provides the comfort, moisture wicking and yes of course, flattering shape and fit that are absolutely necessary for those requisite TikTok videos as well as Instagram posts and stories. However, Lululemon and LanzaTech say that instead of requiring virgin petroleum to manufacture these fabrics, the end result can help keep those hydrocarbons in the ground.

A similar process LanzaTech developed earlier this year has resulted in a laundry detergent that Unilever has rolled out in India.

Other companies have touted their green chemical processes as ways to manufacture just about anything from bioplastics to even vodka.

For Lululemon, assuming this partnership with LanzaTech will thrive, this alliance could help the company meet its various long-term sustainability goals, which range from procuring 75 percent of its materials from more sustainable sources by 2025 to offering a more circular resell/repair/recycle model for its customers that same year.

Image credit: LanzaTech

Leon Kaye headshot

Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.

Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.

Read more stories by Leon Kaye