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Eco-consciousness is one of the most talked about topics today and we all should be aware of our actions and how they impact the environment. If you love yoga, you will understand the significance of healthy living and environmental cleanliness and safety. Yoga mats are becoming more popular and almost all yoga practitioners have a mat, so the total number of mats continues to increase. As the number of mats increase, so does the total number of old mats that need to be discarded, and they need to be degradable for them to be eco-friendly. 

Materials Used In Making Yoga Mats

Many traditional yoga mats are made from non-biodegradable materials like PVC which can take hundreds of years to break down and release harmful chemicals into the environment. There are many more materials that are used such as natural rubber, TPE (Thermoplastic Elastomers), NBR (Nitrile Butadiene Rubber) and many more that we will be discussing soon. 

Fortunately, there are many eco-friendly yoga mats available on the market that offer a more suitable option such as mats made from natural rubber, wool, jute and cork.

Let’s break down some of the most common materials used in making yoga mats.


PVC Yoga Mats

PVC Yoga Mat - Kati kaia

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is one of the most used materials in making yoga mats and it is a synthetic plastic material that is very durable and difficult to decompose, inexpensive and they are very easy to clean, just wipe it with cloth and water, haha. But unfortunately, PVC is not an eco-friendly option as it is not biodegradable and releases toxins into the air and soil during production and disposal. PVC mats has been proven to be carcinogenic - cannot be used for sweaty or vigorous practices due to the chemicals they release when heated from the energy produced during practice or from hot yoga. So, if you are looking for an eco-friendly option, PVC is not an option.

TPE Yoga Mats

TPE Yoga Mats - Kati kaia

Thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) is another material used for making yoga mats, it's a little bit eco-friendly and recyclable. TPE is a type of synthetic rubber and as you know, like every other synthetic material, they are not as eco-friendly as their natural counterparts, but it is better than PVC. TPE mats also have lighter base which do not stay on the ground, the edge of the mat tends to curl up and this can affect your practice.

NBR Yoga Mats

NBR Yoga Mats - Kati Kaia

NBR stands for Nitrile Butadiene Rubber, and it is another synthetic rubber which is often used for making yoga mats. It is actually stronger than natural rubber and it is also biodegradable and recyclable, but it is still a synthetic rubber making it less eco-friendly compared to natural rubber.

EVA Yoga Mats

EVA Yoga Mats - Kati Kaia

EVA, which stands for Ethylene Vinyl Acetate is a type of foam material that is used to make yoga mats and it is considered to be eco-friendly. It is light in weight, durable and recyclable but like other materials, it is also a synthetic material which makes it less eco-friendly than natural materials. They also break down quickly with the stress of use.

Microfiber Yoga Mats

Microfiber Yoga Mats - Kati Kaia

Some yoga mats are made from microfiber which is the same material used in making towels. Although the mats made from it are lightweight and often provides very good grip, they are not as durable as other materials and may need to be replaced more frequently. Like others, they are made of synthetic material, and they are recyclable but in the long run, they are not biodegradable like cotton.

Natural Rubber and Polyurethane (PU) Yoga Mats

NPE Yoga Mats - Kati Kaia

This is a combination of natural rubber and polyurethane which is a liquid plastic, and it is more eco-friendly than PVC, EVA and some others because it is biodegradable and recyclable, and this combination is what the world needs. The problem with using this material is that they are usually a little bit heavier than their counterparts and they also lose their grip pretty quickly, after 6-12 months with daily use.

Jute Yoga Mats

Jute Yoga Mats - Kati Kaia

Jute is a long, soft, shiny bast fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads which are then used to make yoga mats. Jute ticks all the boxes, it is eco-friendly, biodegradable and recyclable. They are also naturally anti-bacterial, making them a great option for hot yoga. Although jute provides good grip due to its rough texture, they are a little bit heavy and they do not provide cushioning at all. Jute mats also become slippery after some time as the fibers break down, the jute also start to shred after frequent use.


Cotton and Hemp Yoga Mats

Cotton and Hemp Yoga Mats - Kati Kaia

Some yoga mats are also made from cotton and hemp, and they are natural, bio-based, biodegradable, recyclable and hey provide good grip. However, they do not offer as much cushioning as other materials making them less yoga friendly.

Wool Yoga Mats

Wool Yoga Mats - Kati Kaia

Mats made from wool are eco-friendly. Wool is eco-friendly, biodegradable and they provide excellent cushioning for yoga practice, they are also suitable for Yin Yoga or meditation. Wool mats may not provide as much grip as other materials, and they can be heavy, they are not for sweaty practices, and they are made from sheep coats which might not be suitable for your lifestyle.


Cork Yoga Mats

Cork Yoga Mats - Kati Kaia

Cork is the outer bark of the cork oak tree, and it is processed to make yoga mats. Mats made from cork are eco-friendly, biodegradable, they have excellent grip and also have natural anti-bacterial and moisture-wicking properties. The only downside is that they are very expensive, and the top surface tend to crack easily when not properly taken care of.

Natural Rubber Yoga Mats

Natural Yoga Mats - Kati Kaia

Finally, here is the material we use - natural rubber and it is a sustainable option for yoga mat as it is made from the sap of rubber trees which makes it biodegradable and recyclable. It is important to know that not all-natural rubber is sustainably sourced, and you have to do your due diligence before purchasing the mats. They can also be heavy and may allow you to sweat more during the process.

Recycled Neoprene Yoga Mats

Yoga mats would soon be made from recycled neoprene which are eco-friendly and biodegradable. They are also durable, water-resistant, and provide excellent cushioning. Watch out for it.

Make sure you consider the environmental impact of the material you are buying and their benefits to you. Some important features you need to watch out for are their durability, sustainability, if they are biodegradable, recyclable and ethically sourced. By opting for sustainably sourced and biodegradable materials, we can make a positive impact on the environment while enjoying our yoga practice. You can learn more about how to choose the right yoga mat for your practice here.

5 Reasons to Choose Eco-Friendly Mats and Where to Find Them

All yoga practitioners know that they just have to use the right yoga mat that fits their practice, but we are way past comfort and grip, and we now include eco-friendliness in the features we look out for as this can have a positive impact on the environment and our health. Here are five reasons why you should consider an eco-friendly mat when you next want to buy a mat and where you can find them online.

  1. Reduced Environmental Impact: When yoga mats are old, they are either recycled or discarded as waste and the time it takes to decompose depends on the type of material used in making the mats. By prioritizing sustainability and choosing mats that are not recyclable but also biodegradable, we reduce our environmental footprint and give the earth some breathing space.
  2. Great Health Benefit: Some materials used in making yoga mats are not eco-friendly and they contain harmful chemicals like phthalates which can have negative effects on health. Mats made from natural resources such as rubber, wool and cork are free from toxic materials.
  3. Improved Traction: Eco-friendly mats are often times more durable than traditional mats and materials such as rubber, jute or cork used in making the mats gives the mats more traction and grip preventing slips and falls during the practice.
  4. Longevity: As eco-friendly mats are made from high-quality materials that can withstand frequent use, they tend to last longer, making them more durable than their counterparts, so you don’t have to replace them often.
  5. Supporting Sustainable Businesses: By choosing eco-friendly mats, we are directly supporting businesses that priorities sustainability and ethical practice. These companies often gather materials from local businesses and recycle them into the mats we use.

Where To Find the Best Eco-Friendly Mats

We are a great option when it comes to eco-friendly mats as we offer yoga mats made from natural rubber which is biodegradable and sustainable. Our mats are free from harmful chemicals making them a healthier choice for you. We are also partnering with Circular Flow to create mats that are made from recycled neoprene which is a more sustainable approach and helps to reduce waste. Checkout our eco-friendly yoga mats to find the one that suits you. 

Kati Kaia Yoga Mats

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