The Best Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat to Protect Your Health and the Planet
If you’re interested in taking up yoga for its physical and mental health benefits, you’ll likely need to get an eco-friendly yoga mat. Unfortunately, the majority of mats available today are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is considered one of the most environmentally destructive plastics.
However, the good news is that as we learn more about the devastating effects that PVC has on the environment and our health, more companies are avoiding it and making yoga mats with eco-friendly materials.
If you’re in the market for a new mat, check out this list of the best eco-friendly yoga mats and choose the one that will best suit your yoga practice needs.
1. Livity Yoga
Livity Yoga makes its sustainable yoga mats with the Earth and its people in mind by using ethical and fair trade materials whenever possible.
On the top layer, this eco-friendly yoga mat is made with natural, high-quality, and recycled cork and rubber to provide protection and support. The bottom layer has more recycled rubber for a non-slip surface.
The mat contains no PVC, PER, TPE, glues, chemicals, plasticizers, latex, or any other plastics that could be harmful to you and the planet.
The topside has 3.5mm thick natural cork padding for optimal grip, even when wet, and the bottom side is 1.5mm thick for a total thickness of 5mm. The mat has a medium to firm density and is extra long and wide to comfortably suit the needs of all body types.
It even includes alignments on the mat so you can ensure you have optimal positioning during your yoga practice.
Since this yoga mat is made of entirely biodegradable materials, you know it will decompose when it reaches the end of its useful life.
Scoria has a variety of cork yoga mats that are both eco-friendly and stylish. Made from sustainably harvested and naturally anti-microbial cork with a natural rubber backing, these eco-friendly yoga mats are perfect for traditional yoga, hot yoga, meditation, and other stretching exercises.
Scoria also has an awesome line of kid’s yoga mats that are slightly smaller than the adult mats, making them the ideal size for smaller bodies.
The beautiful designs are printed on the mat using non-toxic water-based inks. The mat is 4.5mm thick and includes a carrying strap.
Since cork is anti-microbial and naturally sanitizes itself, you don’t have to worry about germs, mold, or mildew forming on the mat. If you need to clean it, you can wipe it down with a soft cloth and warm water and lay it flat to air dry. Wiping your mat with a mixture of mild soap and water can also help prevent stains from forming.
Plus, offering sustainable yoga mats isn’t the only way Scoria is trying to make the world a better place. For every mat sold, the company also donates meals to those in need through Feeding Children Everywhere.
Please note, when you first use your mat, it might have a mild rubber smell. However, after a few days the scent will go away. You can also air out your mat in a shaded area to help speed up the process.
You can find Scoria yoga mats at EarthHero, which is one of the best zero waste online shops for all of your eco-friendly essentials. If you decide to shop at EarthHero, please be sure to use the code EARTHFRIENDLY to take 10% off your order!
While you’ll find PVC mats and mats made with thermoplastic elastomers when you shop Manduka yoga mats, the company also has two sustainable options with its eKO yoga mat and eKOlite yoga mat. These mats are made from sustainably harvested, non-Amazon natural tree rubber.
The eKO mat is 71 inches long, weighs 7 pounds, and offers premium 5mm thickness. If you’re interested in something that’s a little more lightweight, the eKOlite mat is also 71 inches long, but it has a thickness of 4mm and only weighs 5 pounds.
No matter which mat you choose, you’ll enjoy one that’s 99% latex free and doesn’t contain any PVC or harmful plasticizers. Both options also have a rippled surface texture for excellent grip and traction, and they’re made with a high-density, closed-cell surface to prevent sweat from seeping inside.
Plus, to help create a zero waste manufacturing process, Manduka uses all scraps in the production of other materials.
If you’re looking for an outstanding travel yoga mat, check out these lightweight and compact options from Mikkoa. These gorgeous mats have plenty of features you’ll love.
The mats are specially designed to fold up and slide right into your backpack or bag. They’re also made without PVC, TPE, harsh chemicals, silicones, or phthalates.
Unlike traditional yoga mats, which become slippery with more moisture, Mikkoa mats have a high-performance surface that actually enhances your grip with a little moisture. In fact, if you know you’ll be doing some exercises that require better grip, you should spray your mat with a light spritz of water.
The mat also has a natural rubber base layer for better floor support and a moisture wicking surface to help soak up any excess sweat. When you need to clean your mat, you can simply toss it in the washing machine and hang it up to dry.
While the travel yoga mats are 1.5mm thick to make them easy to carry around, you can also check out their thicker yoga mats if you want something that’s eco-friendly and provides more support and cushioning.
Plus, Mikkoa partners with One Tree Planted to plant one tree with every purchase to help regrow our forests.
5. OKO Living
Rugs have always been the traditional surface for practicing yoga. While many people moved to PVC and other synthetic materials for yoga mats, OKO Living focused on preserving the ancient tradition of yoga rugs.
This hand-loomed yoga mat from OKO Living is just as beautiful as it is functional. The thoughtfully created mat is woven from 100% Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton and dyed with medicinal Ayurvedic plant dyes.
To ensure safety and balance during active flows and stretching, the mat features a non-slip natural rubber backing. Since the mat is woven with 6-ply cotton, it features 5mm thickness and impressive softness.
In addition to being naturally antibacterial and antifungal, these organic cotton mats also contain no PVC, BPA, phthalates, harsh chemicals, or allergens. Plus, they come in numerous other stunning colors, like this vibrant chakra energy mat, this rose quartz mat, and this clay mat.
Since these mats don’t contain any cork, you can machine wash them with cold water and a gentle, natural detergent.
This sustainable mat has a premium-grade cork and rubber surface that’s extremely non-slip whether it’s wet or dry. It’s also fused together with eco-friendly, plant-based foam to create a generous 6mm thick mat.
The mat is available in the conventional 72-inch length as well as a longer 80-inch length. So if you’re on the taller side, you can easily get a mat that will provide all the space you need.
The cork used for these mats is a 100% renewable and recyclable material obtained using one of the most environmentally friendly harvesting methods in the world. Not one tree is cut down to get the cork.
Instead, the bark is stripped by hand every 9 years. Additionally, no bark is wasted during the harvest process. The residue is ground down to make other cork products and the cork dust is used for fuel.
7. Jade Yoga
Although Jade Yoga offers several types of mats, the Harmony yoga mat is the company’s most popular option and consistently ranks #1 by many yoga teachers and students. The mat is made with natural, open-cell rubber, which provides better cushioning and grip than synthetic rubber and makes it easier to hold those tricky poses.
Since Jade mats are made in the United States with rapidly renewable natural rubber tapped from rubber trees. They’re completely toxin-free and contain no PVC, phthalates, heavy metals, or other harsh chemicals.
Plus, Jade is committed to giving back and making our planet a better place. That’s why the company plants one tree for every mat sold. Since 2006, their partnership with Trees for the Future has resulted in planting over 2 million trees!
Suga yoga mats are made entirely out of recycled wetsuits. These mats are also closed loop since they’re fully recyclable at the end of their useful lives.
Due to their unique material, Suga mats perform better than a lot of other mats available. They provide more supportive grip and traction while also offering denser cushioning for any high-compression poses.
Plus, the closed-cell foam doesn’t absorb dirt, dust, and bacteria from the floor or ground. This makes these mats much easier to clean.
Since Suga mats are manufactured in the U.S., they have a lower carbon footprint than mats imported from other countries. They’re also non-toxic and don’t contain PVC, PCB, PET, and phthalates.
In addition to the regular SugaMat, the company also offers SugaMat C2G (Cradle to Grave). If your SugaMat C2G ever wears out, you can simply return it and they’ll send you a new one for free, no questions asked.
Plus, if you have a worn out or unused wetsuit, you can send it to Suga for recycling and they’ll give you a 10% discount.
9. Lottus Life
Lottus Life makes a reversible yoga mat that has soft and gentle natural jute on one side and plush, non-slip grip on the other. This non-toxic yoga mat contains no PVC, BPA, lead, cadmium, latex, phthalates, or other toxic chemicals.
At 8mm, it’s one of the thickest mats on this list. It’s also ideal for anyone who needs extra support on their knees, hips, back, or joints.
Natural jute is a highly sustainable textile that’s strong and moisture absorbent. While it can feel a little rough at first, time and use will help break it in and soften it.
This mat is available in two colors and comes with a free carrying strap that you can also use as a stretching strap.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly eco-friendly yoga mat, consider one from Gaiam.
It’s important to note that many Gaiam yoga mats are made with PVC, so you need to pay close attention to which one you’re choosing. One of the top eco yoga mats they offer is this jute mat.
It’s made with a combination of all-natural jute and polymer environmental resin (PER). While PER is a synthetic material, unlike PVC, it will gradually biodegrade.
Since it has a latex-free and silicone-free non-toxic backing, it offers a non-slip grip that’s ideal for your hot yoga practice.
At 68 inches in length, this mat is slightly shorter than some of the other options on this list. However, it still offers 5mm of thickness, which is plenty of support for your body.
Make sure you note that this mat will have a strong but harmless odor when you first receive it. Be sure to unroll and air out your mat for 2 or 3 days before you use it to help dissipate the scent.
FAQs About Sustainable Yoga Mats
These FAQs will help answer all the questions you have about picking out and caring for your eco-friendly yoga mat.
Are Cork Yoga Mats Eco-Friendly?
Yes, cork yoga mats are eco-friendly, as long as they’re made from natural cork. Most natural cork comes from cork trees grown in Portugal.
Cork is harvested by hand by removing the tree’s bark. The tree is never harmed or cut down, and the bark is able to grow back. By using this process, one tree can be harvested every 9 years for over 200 years.
Plus, not only do cork tree forests offer a home to a variety of plants and animals, but they’re also carbon sinks that can absorb millions of tons of CO2 and help fight climate change.
What’s the Most Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat Material?
The most eco-friendly yoga mat material is one that’s either natural or recycled. The material that’s best for you will depend on the type of yoga you practice and where you typically practice it.
Here are some examples of the most environmentally friendly yoga mat materials:
- Cork: A natural material that’s breathable, odor-free, and naturally inhibits bacteria, mold, and fungal growth.
- Rubber: A natural material that comes directly from rubber trees.
- Jute: A natural material extracted from the bark of the white jute plant. Typically blended with PER for extra grip.
- Organic cotton: A natural material from the cotton plant. Just ensure you’re choosing organic cotton so that no pesticides or fertilizers are damaging the soil and polluting waterways. Recycled cotton is also a good option that reduces waste.
- Recycled materials: Yoga mats made from recycled materials have a smaller carbon footprint and help divert waste from landfills.
Can I Recycle Yoga Mats?
If you have an old yoga mat that has reached the end of its useful life, you might be wondering if you can recycle it. Unfortunately, PVC is one of the most difficult plastics to recycle and many recycling centers don’t have the capabilities to handle it.
It’s also important to keep in mind that many recycling centers won’t accept PVC yoga mats because they’re altered with plasticizers and dyes that make them too difficult to recycle. The only way to know for sure if your local recycling center will accept PVC yoga mats is to contact them.
However, while you typically can’t recycle an old mat, you can upcycle or repurpose it. Here are several creative ways you can reuse a yoga mat:
- Liner or padding for drawers
- Knee pad in the garden
- Floor protector pads on furniture legs
- A jar opener/gripper
- Car trunk liner
How Often Should I Clean My Yoga Mat?
Ideally, you should clean your yoga mat after each session to remove any sweat, dirt, and microbes that can build up on it. This is especially true if you just finished a sweaty class or hot yoga practice.
However, the frequency of cleaning can vary depending on what type of yoga you practice, the intensity of your sessions, and the cleaning recommendations the company recommends for your mat.
What’s the Best Way to Clean My Mat?
Since these sustainable mats are made with natural materials, it’s important to note that most of them cannot go in the washing machine.
However, that doesn’t mean they’re hard to clean. You can clean most of them by simply wiping them down with a cloth, warm water, and natural soap.
This DIY non-toxic yoga mat cleaner is also another fantastic choice for quickly and easily cleaning most yoga mats.
The Top Eco-Friendly Yoga Mat for a Healthier Body and Planet
Yoga is an amazing exercise that can help your mind and your body. But choosing a PVC yoga mat isn’t just bad for your health, it can also be terrible for the planet.
To help ensure you’re selecting a mat that’s safer and healthier for you and the environment, be sure to choose one of these best non-toxic and eco-friendly yoga mats.
More Eco-Friendly Living Tips
Did you enjoy learning more about the best eco-friendly mats? Are you interested in discovering more about the top products that can help you live a sustainable life? Then please be sure to take a look at some of our other popular posts:
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