Wondering what are truly eco-friendly yoga mats? Would you like to support the environment while doing yoga and make a difference? We’ll explore non-toxic and plastic-free yoga mats made from cork, natural rubber and other sustainable materials.
What is an eco-friendly yoga mat?
While there are many cheap mats marketed as eco-friendly, it’s important to distinguish between them. Some such yoga mats such as TPE mats are still made from plastic materials. TPE yoga mats e.g BOBO TPE Yoga Mat and Covacure Yoga Mat contain thermoplastic and are made from fossil fuels polymer compounds. Hence, such mats won’t biodegrade naturally and will increase plastic waste without proper recycling. Moreover, while TPE yoga masts are recyclable, their recycling depends on specific countries’ recycling rate. Note that even European countries which have among the highest plastic recycling rates still ship some of its plastic to Asia. Sadly, this plastic may end up in Asian waters. So why not avoid plastic yoga mats altogether? Luckily there are sustainable yoga mats made from natural materials like jute, cork and natural rubber. Using them you can make a difference and reduce your plastic waste footprint.
Jute yoga mats
Some environment-friendly yoga mats are made from jute. Jute is a natural fiber made from the jute plant. It’s a herbaceous plant native to Asia.
Jute fibers are long, soft, shiny and golden-brown in color. After extraction from the plant’s stem and processing, the fibers may be woven into various fabrics.
Jute is an inexpensive natural fiber that goes into various products such as bags, rugs and carpets. Thanks to its natural origin, jute is eco-friendly and biodegradable. Moreover, its durability makes a perfect source for production of sustainable yoga mats.
Some even call jute “golden fiber” because of its versatility, affordability and eco-friendliness.
Cork yoga mats
Some manufacturers use cork to make environment-friendly yoga mats. Cork is a natural, sustainable, and eco-friendly material. One can obtain it from the bark of the cork oak tree which grows in Mediterranean countries. One can harvest it every 9-14 years without damaging the tree. This makes cork a great renewable resource.
What makes cork a great source material for yoga mats? Cork yoga mats are durable, provide an excellent grip and traction. These properties make them suitable for many types of yoga practices. In addition, cork yoga mats are lightweight and easy to clean. Natural origin of cork adds to its biodegradability. Whereas cork hypoallergenic and antimicrobial properties make it suitable for people with sensitive skin or allergies. Moreover, cork insulates naturally , so it can keep you warm even during cold yoga sessions.
It’s worth noting though that cork yoga mats don’t cushion as well as traditional (TPE and PVC) yoga mats. Yet, they still present a good alternative for those who are looking for a natural, sustainable and eco-friendly yoga mat.
Why buy eco-friendly yoga mats?
If you hesitate to buy eco-friendly yoga mats you may want to check out the reasons below.
Better for your health
Mainstream yoga mats are made from PVC. PVC may be a great building material used in piping, roofing and flooring. While being cheap, durable and strong evidence has accumulated its health hazards. Most notably, PVC releases toxic gas – hydrogen chloride which has adverse effects on the respiratory system, e.g. it may cause asthma and allergy. Think twice if you want to breathe them while doing “downward facing dog”. In addition, studies have shown potential carcinogenic effects of PVC phthalates. Read more about PVC and its potential harmful effects here and here.
Conversely, eco-friendly yoga mats are made from natural materials e.g. natural fibers. Some of them are even organic and vegan e.g. made from cork. Moreover, they are free from heavy metals and chemicals like phthalates and dioxins.
Less harm to environment
Mainstream PVC yoga mats are basically made from plastic. PVC is one of the world’s most used types of plastic. It has been even called by Greenpeace: “The poison plastic”. We have already reviewed plastic harm to health and environment and suggested using Reusable Plates and Cutlery and Water Filter Systems as an alternative to plastic bottled water. Here, it’s the same story. Regular yoga mats become unusable quickly, but it may take them ages to decompose in landfills.
Unlike PVC mats, eco-friendly yoga mats are sustainable. They are made from natural substances like cork and jute.
Wiser economic decision
While mainstream yoga mats are cheap, they don’t last long. In addition to containing harmful materials, they may quickly start to stretch and slide or simply deteriorate after a few uses.
On the other hand, eco-friendly yoga mats are usually more expensive. Yet, they offer high quality, non-slip, non-stretch yoga experience. In addition, they have better tear resistance and last much longer.
So you came to the conclusion that you, your health and the environment deserve a yoga mat made of non-harmful substances.
Let’s see where you can buy such mats.
Where to buy eco-friendly yoga mats?
There are plenty of online stores where you can buy eco-friendly yoga mats. I recommend the below top-rated ones.
They offer various thickness, made from varying materials and sell at different price ranges.
Manduka is a US-based company that designs and manufactures high-quality, durable and eco-friendly yoga mats and accessories. They offer mats of various designs which offer exceptional durability, grip and support. Manduka produces yoga mats from natural rubber and other eco-friendly materials. In addition, Manduka committed to sustainability with their “Mat Recycling Program”.
Ajna is a US company that designs and manufactures eco-friendly yoga mats from cork and natural rubber. high-quality products. They also use non-toxic, water-based inks for their designs, which are also biodegradable. In addition, Ajna’s yoga mats provide excellent grip and cushioning. Their designs make their mats unique and visually appealing.
Liforme is a UK based company that designs and manufactures eco-friendly yoga mats and accessories with a unique alignment system and uses natural rubber which is naturally biodegradable. Limorme committed to reducing their carbon footprint and using an eco-friendly production approach.
Yoga Design Lab designs and manufactures eco-friendly yoga mats and accessories. They come from Bali, Indonesia and produce sustainable yoga mats of unique designs from natural rubber, cork and jute.
You may also search eBay for environmentally friendly yoga mats from small businesses.
Environment will thank you
I believe each contribution towards a greener world matters. Make small steps along with millions of others. Accumulated steps will make a difference!