Were you looking for eco-friendly yoga mats? Unbelievably, the yoga mat is a relatively recent creation that gained popularity in the 1980s. Yoga was initially performed on grass in India. Early yogis used deer and tiger skins for most of their asanas since more padding was required for more complex motions.
You might be shocked to learn that a surprising number of yoga mats are produced of plastics that are harmful to the environment and mildly toxic.
The standard yoga mat you can buy in stores is made of flexible plastic, often known as polyvinyl chloride (PVC). However, the environmental impact of this material is controversial, and it is often hard to recycle.
If you already have a PVC yoga mat, consider recycling it into under-knee padding for gardening or placing it under a sleeping bag to soften a surface further. Otherwise, picking an eco-friendly yoga mat is your best option.
The good thing is that you have a lot of alternatives to select from if you’re looking for eco-friendly yoga mats. The top eco-friendly yoga mats available have been compiled in this article. Keep reading! But remember that it’s always ideal to use what you already have!
Yoga Mats: Do They Harm The Environment?
If you have ever laid on a yoga mat, you probably would have noticed the synthetic smell that emanates from it when your face is pressed against it. PVC, sometimes called polyvinyl chloride, is the source of that odor.
PVC releases volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can harm our health since they are inhalable. Numerous home products, including shower curtains, are made with the toxic material PVC.
PVC, like all plastic, is produced using petroleum, which is highly harmful to the environment due to the methods used in its extraction, production, and disposal. In addition to the carbon footprint associated with transporting it worldwide, it results in significant air, water, and soil contamination.
PVC is a highly durable plastic by nature. Phthalates, hormone disruptors, are added to the material to make it soft and flexible. Then, by breathing, your body may take these toxins off your yoga mat.
According to a study, long-term exposure to phthalates can impair the functioning of multiple organs, including the endocrine system. This might have detrimental long-term effects on reproductive systems in young children and adolescents and on pregnancy success, child growth, and development.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), less than a quarter of one percent of the 910,000 tons of PVC trash produced yearly is recovered for recycling.
PVC is chemically altered during production to produce the flexible plastic that businesses like. Unfortunately, these chemicals and the fact that PVC naturally contains chlorine make recycling this material more difficult.
Hence, it ends up in a landfill! Being healthy is key to practicing yoga, and that includes your mat.
How To Pick Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats
When selecting any sustainable product for your home, you must pay particular attention to the following:
- Their Green and Eco-Friendly Business Practices
- Where do they get their materials from
- How ethical their labor practices are
- Their charitable donations and community service
Doing so allows you to assess the differences between the various brands and select the eco-friendly yoga mat that best appeals to you. So unwind, tap into your inner zen, and scroll on. Here are some examples of eco-friendly yoga mat materials.
1. Natural Rubber: natural rubber is extracted directly from rubber trees. 99% of the rubber used in Manduka’s eco brand of yoga mats is natural tree rubber that wasn’t sourced from Amazon.
2. Recycled or organic cotton: No pesticides or fertilizers might contaminate rivers or harm the land used to produce organic cotton. The cotton crop, which consumes a lot of resources, is kept from going to waste by being recycled. The cotton used in the mats produced by Oko Living, Abhinehkrafts, and Brentwood Home is recycled or organic.
3. Natural cork: Cork oak woodlands, primarily found in Portugal, are where natural cork is sourced. Cork is produced from tree bark, and these woods are hotspots for biodiversity. The bark of the tree comes back despite never being chopped down. Yoga mats from Scoria, Yoloha, and Urbivore all include cork.
4. Jute: The white jute plant’s Corchorus capsularis bark and, to a lesser extent, the Tossa jute plant’s bark are the two sources of jute. Hot yoga usually works best with yoga mats made of natural jute. Polymer Environmental Resin (PER) is usually mixed to add more traction.
5. Recycled plastic: The carbon footprint of recycled plastic is lower than that of virgin materials. Sugamats turns discarded wetsuits that would otherwise end up in the landfill into yoga mats.
9 Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats
The going zero waste stamp of approval is given to these ten yoga mats. All of these companies provide eco-friendly yoga mats, and the majority of them support environmental initiatives like tree planting and recycling programs.
Feel free to check their websites for more information.
Manduka is a well-known brand among yogis, so you may have heard of it before. The Namaste Naturally EKO mats, which are completely biodegradable and environmentally friendly, will be the emphasis of this article rather than their track record.
Yoga mats from Manduka come in two varieties: PRO and EKO. Today, though, we’ll concentrate on their eKo brand, which is produced using only natural rubber from trees that weren’t taken by Amazon and produce zero waste and no hazardous plasticizers.
It’s also among the most reasonably priced choices for an eco-friendly yoga mat. Any trash left behind after making their mats is used to produce new materials, resulting in a zero-waste manufacturing process.
In addition to their Yoga Teacher Reward Program for recognizing yoga instructors, Manduka collaborates with Susan G. Komen on an initiative called Project: OM. This aims to contribute 1% of Manduka’s global revenues to charity organizations in 2020, with a guaranteed minimum contribution of $200,000.
2. Yoga Design Lab
Chad Turner, the company’s creator, had a life-changing experience visiting Bali, resulting in the Yoga Design Lab’s founding. He understood that most mats in the yogi’s paradise were mass-produced, unimaginative, and plain colors.
He concluded that it was time to give back to the community, so he made long-lasting, sustainable mats. They make some of the most fantastic recycled eco-friendly yoga mats.
They offer three eco mat variations: the Combo and Infinity mats, which are comprised of recycled microfiber from plastic bottles and natural tree rubber. The Cork mats are made of cork. They decompose entirely in nature. They also have an ultra-thin mat that is an ideal ecological travel yoga mat.
Every purchase generates $1 that supports underfunded yoga programs for urban students. Yoga is introduced to underfunded schools in Canada, South Africa, and New York City through their connection to Earth Child Project. With this endeavor, they sponsored 500 kids in 2019.
See also: Best 8 Eco-friendly Toilet Paper
3. Jade Yoga
Since starting its green journey more than 20 years ago, Jade Yoga has upheld its reputation as the manufacturer of one of the top ethical yoga mats.
Natural rubber is the primary component of Jade Yoga’s eco-friendly yoga mats, giving them outstanding non-slip quality. Furthermore, they don’t include synthetic rubber (PVC, EVA, etc.)
Except for their Mysore Yoga Rug, produced in India, all their mats are created in the United States. Still, they uphold fair labor practices and working conditions by adhering to American labor and consumer regulations.
Their efforts and charity donations do not go forgotten; they support causes like breast cancer awareness and research and allow those who cannot practice yoga the option to do so.
It is worth noting that since 2006, their flagship partner has been Trees for the Future. Jade Yoga donates a tree for each transaction, and they have already planted more than two million trees.
Scoria is the yoga mat for Canadians seeking an eco-friendly option. Imagination and originality served as the cornerstones of this company’s founding. The company’s founder, Yara, launched it on Kickstarter.
The cork and rubber used to make these eco-friendly yoga mats were collected responsibly. They don’t include TPE or PVC and are entirely non-toxic. Additionally, they are biodegradable due to the use of eco-glue, non-toxic, water-based dyes, and these materials.
In Portugal, cork is ethically harvested. At Scoria, we want every purchase to have an effect. They have given more than 150,000 healthy meals to needy individuals over the last four years. In collaboration with Right To Play, they also help Indigenous youth in Canada to develop life skills and a healthy lifestyle.
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5. The Ubivore
Another great Canadian-made ethical and eco-friendly yoga mat is the Ubivore. These substantial eco-friendly yoga mats are constructed from cork that has been responsibly obtained and was created by sisters Emily and Rebekah. Ubivore is the best option if you’re looking for a non-slip, eco-friendly yoga mat.
These eco-friendly yoga mats are made without causing any tree damage since the cork is taken from cork oak trees’ regenerable bark, which is collected every 8 to 9 years. The tree may survive up to 200 years and is never chopped down.
When the bark of cork trees is removed, they absorb 3-5 times more carbon dioxide. A cork oak forest can store up to 14 million tons of CO2 annually, which helps cut down on greenhouse emissions.
In addition, Urbivore partners with One Tree Planted to donate trees with each transaction.
One of my favorite selections for eco-friendly yoga mats is Abhinehkrafts, which manufactures organic cotton mats. These mats are machine washable and were handwoven by artisans in India.
You can ask for a pre-applied rubber covering on the sides of the mat at the time of purchase if you are concerned that it will slide or move during practice. It is natural rubber from Kerala and will aid in the mat’s adhesion.
All the products made by Abhinehkrafts are made by hand using India’s extensive textile history.
7. Barefoot Yoga
You’ll adore Barefoot Yoga’s mats if you enjoy mats with a rustic appearance. There are a few for you to pick from.
The Original Eco Yoga Mat, constructed of jute and natural rubber and contains latex, is the top option. Jute is a fantastic eco-friendly material. It is entirely biodegradable and does not include any chemical additions.
The Natural Jute and PER yoga mat is the other option. It is created with jute and PER (Polymer Environmental Resin). Another fascinating fiber is PER. It is superior to PVC, although it is still made primarily of chloride monomer, a known carcinogen, and petroleum-based plastic.
On its website, Barefoot Yoga does state that its production process is non-toxic and latex-free. The jute is on top of the mat, and the PER is at the bottom.
By offering a 10% discount to yoga instructors who buy their items for their use, Barefoot Yoga gives back to the community.
Yoloha offers a wide range of vegan and eco-friendly yoga mats, including their popular Unity and Original Cork Yoga Mat With Plant Foam. Recycled cork and rubber from old tires are used harmoniously to create unity. There’s no toxic PVC!
The cork used in their mats is taken from the cork oak tree in the Mediterranean region’s outer bark. However, not a single tree is felled by them. Instead, they manually debark the trees every nine years. And the mats’ picture is gorgeous! Choosing one will be challenging.
Any materials left over after making their mats are used to make additional cork items since they believe in zero waste. Cork dust itself is used as fuel.
Their mats are proudly produced in the United States, and since they collect cork, they support over 100,000 fair-wage employment.
Yoloha is involved with veteran programs, youth groups, and organizations that support healthcare professionals, such as Warrior Surf and Empowered Minds. They give out mats to children, physicians, veterans, and more. With discounts of up to 15%, they also make their items more affordable for yoga instructors.
9. Cork Yoga
With this ethical yoga mat, balancing in a tree pose is simple. It was lovingly manufactured in Portugal using cork responsibly obtained by a small family-run cork farm. Being 100% natural, hypoallergenic, naturally antibacterial, lightweight, and incredibly durable, cork is an excellent material for a yoga mat.
This specific mat incorporates slip-resistant grips for added stability, even in the hottest class. Cork trees are never chopped down; instead, during the peak harvest season, the bark is peeled, allowing the tree to regrow.
Cork Yoga is all about sustainability. Cork’s products are also entirely recyclable, vegan, and devoid of latex, plastic, and rubber. A portion of each sale made by Corc Yoga is donated to various adolescent mental health initiatives both domestically and internationally.
Your yoga practice will be more serene with eco-friendly yoga mats! It feels nice to know you are using a sustainable, ethical product.
You already have several examples from this list, so you don’t need to worry about anything other than nailing that astavakrasana. Instead of letting the PVC scent ruin your calm, use a biodegradable mat to improve the flow of your yoga practice.
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