I don’t do yoga anywhere near as much as I should. Still, as a passionate, eco-conscious individual, I like to flow in harmony with nature when I do.
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For me, the power of yoga is that it is a mindfulness practice – just like eco-friendly living.
Traditionally, we turned to our brightly colored, toxic PVC yoga mats. While many PVC products can be recycled, contaminants and lack of demand for recycled products often result in disused yoga mats going to landfill.
While practicing yoga without a yoga mat is the best green yoga technique, the wellness industry has mindfully developed a range of eco-friendly alternatives.
Why do you need an eco yoga mat?
- It’s our environmental responsibility to reduce our impacts wherever we can by making thoughtful purchases. Ask yourself, ‘Do I need a new yoga mat?’ ‘Do I need a mat, or can I practice on the ground without one?’ ‘Is the mat I want to purchase made with the environment in mind?’ ‘Is the mat I’m looking to buy recyclable? Can I repurpose it at the end of its life?’
Asking ourselves some simple questions helps reinforce the WHY behind why we want to buy a yoga mat.
- To reduce toxicity exposure, which can come from conventional yoga mats that contain substances like PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and phthalates. These chemicals are harmful to us and to the environment as well!
- To get a grip on your yoga life, pun intended. Eco-friendly yoga mats like those made of cork have excellent traction to ensure stability and prevent unwanted slips.
- Durability for a longer-lasting mat. Unsurprisingly, brands who create environmentally friendly yoga mats create them to make them last. If they last longer, we consume less and waste less.
- For a deeper spiritual connection with nature.
What is the most eco-friendly yoga mat material?
Each material has several pros and cons; therefore, it is hard to unanimously crown one, ‘the MOST eco-friendly material’.
Each material type will suit different people. Therefore, it would be unwise to recommend the best one – I don’t want to contribute to you producing unnecessary waste.
The most common materials used for greener yoga mats include:
- Natural rubber
- Organic cotton
- Recycled plastics
|Natural rubber||– Provides excellent grip and cushioning.|
|– Acid is sometimes used in the production process.|
– Not suitable for those with latex allergies!
– Deforestation required for harvesting.
|Natural cork||– Earthy, slip-resistent texture.|
– Naturally antimicrobial.
|– Typically require a base material such as natural rubber. The base material is attached with adhesives, which may not always be environmentally friendly.|
|– Resource-intensive production process.|
– Can retain moisture.
– Require more maintenance.
|Recycled plastics||– Made from repurposed plastics.|
– Easy to clean.
|– Can be slippery.|
– Energy-intensive manufacturing.
– Not biodegradable.
– Some can have a plastic smell.
|Organic cotton||– Soft and breathable.|
– Machine washable.
|– Often heavier than other types (especially if they are thick)|
How long do eco-friendly yoga mats last? Do they last as long as PVC mats?
I only have a little experience with PVC mats, so I can’t comment on how long they last. However, they are still a PVC product, meaning they have a lifespan, and we all know that’s forever in the environment 🤮!).
Unsurprisingly, the brands that create the best eco-friendly yoga mats are looking to reduce the amount of harmful waste in landfills and environmental pollutants.
While it may seem counterproductive to growing profits, many of these companies are focused on delivering you a mat that will outlast traditional non-environmentally alternatives. Their aim is to make a great product that has an impact on you and the environment.
If that means you never have to replace your eco-friendly yoga mat, these brands are okay with that. They aren’t about trying to get you to make repeat purchases – if you love your mat that much, the company will likely see purchases from your friends and family.
So, what are some of the brands I’m talking about?
Eco-friendly yoga mat brands for Americans
Urbivore specializes in natural cork yoga mats. No need to worry about sweat; your self-cleaning and odor-free yoga mat takes care of itself for you.
Great for: situations that call for extra grip
Check out their: ‘Earth is Home’ cork yoga mat.
Jade Yoga is best known for creating the first ‘green” and non-toxic yoga mats. They have sold over 2 million mats, planting a tree for every sale!
Great for: those in need of extra thick and extra-wide yoga mat options.
Check out their: XW Fusion yoga mat.
Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but Yoloha is here to give it their best shot!
Besides using sustainably sourced natural cork or plant form (from sugar cane) for their mats, they only use 100% recycled or recyclable cardboard and kraft paper for their packaging. Not to mention that at least 95% of their warehouse waste is recyclable.
Great for: those who like an artistic touch to set the scene for their daily flow.
Check out there: Mountain Magic Aura cork and plant foam yoga mat.
Suga makes it easy for all the surf lovers who can recycle their old wetsuits in exchange for a discounted 100% recyclable yoga mat – made from old wetsuits! Most wetsuits are, unfortunately, non-biodegradable, but with the help of Suga, reincarnation is just one wave away.
Great for: Ocean lovers.
Check out their: Sugar Premium 100% Recycled TRAVEL Mat.
Great for: those who like to be able to machine wash their yoga mat after a few sweaty flow sessions.
Check out their: organic non-slip yoga mats.
While their specialty is flip flops, Gurus also make ethically sourced cork yoga mats, shipping throughout the U.S.
Great for: those who don’t ever want to forget their roots (check out the product below to understand what we mean 😉)
Check out their: Roots premium cork yoga mat.
Gaiam has a range of yoga mats, including PVC-based products. They do, however, have some great eco-friendly alternatives at super affordable prices.
Great for: Offer some of the most affordable eco-friendly yoga mats.
Check out their: cork and TPE yoga mat, which are great for hot yoga sessions.
Eco-friendly yoga mat brands for Canadians
Rewild your inner child while contributing to a better world with a Scoria yoga mat. As someone who also feels she lost her childhood creativity, I love the story behind this brand.
Great for: those looking to reconnect with their inner child.
Check out their: connection cork yoga mat.
The husband-and-wife duo behind Dusky Leaf, Jon and Maggie, pride themselves on providing affordable, eco-friendly products. Their yoga mats are made from an Oeko-Tex certified resin, hypoallergenic and latex-free for skin safety.
Great for: those wishing to get into the eco-friendly yoga mat market at an affordable price.
Check out their: studio eco yoga mat.
Best eco-friendly yoga mats for Australians
Anjali Generation is a small Australian business with the lot – cork, jute, organic cotton, and their own eco-suede! They even ship globally if you can’t say no to their fantastic range (please consider local first).
Anjali prides itself on 100% biodegradable materials (except their eco-suede, which we still love given it’s made with recycled plastic bottles). They have also partnered with Greenspark, which plants a tree for every purchase and removes 5 plastic bottles from the ocean.
Great for: With 3 different types, you’re bound to find a mat suitable for your uses!
Check out their: luxury cork mat.
Second Earth is best known for its award-winning 2e ‘Connected’ Yoga Mat. My favorite feature about this natural rubber and jute eco-friendly yoga mat is that it is entirely free of glues and binding agents, which makes it safe for everyone and the environment. They also offer carbon-neutral shipping.
Great for: those more intense sessions that call for good grip and cushioning.
Check out their: award-winning yoga mat.
With a focus on encouraging people to responsibly recycle their old yoga mats when they purchase, what’s not to lov 😉 about LovEarth?! Did I mention you also get a free yoga session pass!
LovEarth specializes in natural rubber and jute mats, organic cotton mats, and yoga mat bags. They even have travel yoga mats that can be folded (instead of rolled) to easily fit inside your luggage.
Great for: those who can’t travel without their yoga mat!
Check out their: travel yoga mats to see how little space in your luggage you’ll need!
Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats for New Zealanders
Yoga Tribe‘s specialty is in jute. They use this natural vegetable fiber to convert your yoga mat into a non-toxic, latex-free, silicone-free, and organic item.
Great for: people who prefer Jute yoga mats – they have a great range of tribal designs!
Check out their: Peaceful Warrior organic jute yoga mat.
Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats for All, No Matter Where You Are
Manduka mats are handcrafted in Germany, Spain, and Taiwan, with shipping options to most major countries. They have various mat options, including their closed-loop Oeko-Tex certified PVC-based mats, 99% latex-free natural rubber mats, and Yogitoes® (yoga towels).
Great for: those who like to be able to swipe down their mat after each session.
Check out their: Pro Oeko-Tex certified yoga mats.
Made with love by traditional handcrafting, Yoga Kargha yoga mats infuse natural materials and fibers (organic and recycled cotton, banana fiber) with their Indian heritage.
Great for: those who want a yoga mat that can double as home décor!
Check out their: Grass fiber restorative mat.
Yoga Design Lab
Offering a range of materials from natural rubber, cork, and recycled microfiber, Yoga Design Lab‘s mats would have to be amongst some of the most colorful.
Great for: being a sweaty companion in your hot yoga sessions.
Check out their: 2-in-1 (mat + towel) combo yoga mat
Before I bow out to you, I want to give you some key takeaways.
- Please don’t buy a new yoga mat unless you need one. Yes, this article is about the best eco-friendly yoga mats, but sometimes the best is what you already have. I know it’s hard when the green yoga mats are so cute with their natural tones and textures, but remember, it’s about saving waste and resources where possible.
- If you’re still unsure which one would be best for you, talk to a yoga instructor if you have one, join a Facebook group, and ask for other people’s personal experiences. Maybe you’ve got a close friend with an eco-friendly yoga mat who might let you borrow it for a session to see how it feels.
- Lastly, don’t overthink things! Yoga is about reconnecting with your body and mind to achieve inner peace – that’s a bit hard to do when stressing over how environmentally-friendly your yoga mat is! I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll repeat it: It’s about progress over perfect.
So, let’s embrace green wellness and flow towards a more sustainable future, one mindful breath at a time.