According to a document seen by Reuters, the largest apparel retailer in the world, Inditex, the parent company of Zara, has decided to invest in and purchase recycled polyester from American start-up Ambercycle.

Inditex is investing 70 million euros in Ambercycle, a company that produces recycled polyester from textile waste, in response to demands on fast-fashion shops to utilise recycled fabrics and decrease waste. Because it dries quickly and is strong, polyester, a byproduct of the petroleum industry, is frequently used in sportswear.

As per the agreement, during a three-year period, Inditex will purchase a “significant” amount of Ambercycle’s recycled polyester manufacturing, which is marketed under the Cycora brand.

Inditex disclosed that it had struck an agreement with Ambercycle, but it gave no further information. By 2030, the apparel store wants to source 25% of its fibres from “next-generation” materials.

The first commercial-scale textile recycling factory owned by Los Angeles-based Ambercycle will be funded in part by the Inditex investment. The plant is anticipated to start producing cycora in 2025, and throughout the next three years, Inditex items will use the material.

According to the document, men’s sporting sub-brand Zara Athleticz will debut a capsule range of “technical pieces’ ‘ this week that includes up to 50% cycora.

Recycled polyester made from plastic bottles has replaced virgin polyester in some clothing firms’ efforts to lessen their dependence on virgin polyester; nevertheless, this move has drawn criticism because it has increased demand for old plastic bottles, driving up prices.

However, recycling polyester from textiles to textiles is still in its infancy and will take some time to achieve the scale demanded by international fashion manufacturers.

The Ambercycle agreement is the most recent in a string of investments Inditex has made in start-ups focused on textile recycling.

In addition to investing in Circ, another American company specialising in textile-to-textile recycling, Inditex this year inked a three-year agreement for 100 million euros ($104 million) to purchase thirty percent of the recovered fibre produced by Finland’s Infinited Fiber Company.

In order to handle garment trash, Inditex and its competitors, including H&M and Mango, have formed an organisation in Spain. This move comes as the sector gets ready for new EU regulations that will oblige member states to start collecting textile waste separately in January 2025.