May 08, 2023

Ambercycle Strikes Strategic Deal with Taiwanese Textile Supplier

Ambercycle is seeking to scale up with help from an international textile partner.

The Los Angeles materials science innovator and producer of upcycled polyester, Cycora, Ambercycle has entered into a strategic partnership with Taiwan's Shinkong Synthetics. The two firms have worked together since 2021 to accelerate production and meet demand for textile-to-textile recycling solutions that reduce the need for virgin materials.

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"Ambercycle's product quality is one of the best regenerated polyesters made from landfill-destined textile waste available in the market or in the development phase worldwide," Shinkong division general manager Sam Hu said.

For the past two years, Ambercycle provided Shinkong with pelletized polyester, which the advanced yarnmaker extrudes into performance and specialty yarns. Both companies "share a long-term orientation and unwavering commitment to achieving true circularity in apparel" through the partnership," Hu said.

Ambercycle plans to leverage Shinkong's production capacity to ramp up regenerated filament yarn production, and the partners are also exploring the possibility of constructing and operating a commercial-scale facility under an executed memorandum of understanding (MoU), according to the L.A. company's co-founder and CEO, Shay Sethi. "Ambercycle's focus on novel circular product creation aligns perfectly with Shinkong's desire to enhance their sustainable offerings," he said. "We are moving quickly to scale our production capabilities, and thus make circular materials available and accessible as soon as possible."

Chief technology officer Moby Ahmed told Sourcing Journal that the details—including the size, estimated capacity and location of the proposed facility—haven't been finalized. "Toward the end of the year, we’re going to have some more color on what the manufacturing footprint is going to look like," he said. Having a partner in Asia gives Ambercycle access to new markets and supply chains for Cycora. "One of the reasons that we chose to work with a company like Shinkong is that both parties are very interested in connecting the dots in a way that makes the most sense and benefits the communities in which in which we operate," he added.

The partnership represents a "logical extension" of Ambercycle's work in the U.S., which has ramped up over the past eight years. "To date, we’ve diverted about 3.5 million pounds of end-of-life textiles away from landfills," Ahmed said. Ambercycle's U.S. production facilities can process around 15,000 T-shirts-worth of material daily.

Shinkong offers Ambercycle new development capabilities and other areas of opportunity. The Taiwanese company specializes in yarns for categories like activewear, creating "some of the highest quality yarns on the market and supplying those to some of the largest sportswear brands globally," Ahmed said. Shinkong also has a large network of fabric mills and suppliers. "We’ve been able to prove out the ability to convert our Cycora material into various fabric constructions," he added.

"We want to create these high-performance products as soon as possible to show what we can do, and to do it with a partner that understands the importance of the supply chain and has the connectivity to make a difference at scale," Ahmed said.

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