Yoga helps both our body and mind and helps ensure a healthy, long life. The primary accessory for yoga is the yoga mat. Undoubtedly, we need to ensure that yoga mats are sustainable and eco-friendly.
The best eco-friendly yoga mats are the ones that do not use PVC, latex, silicone, and other toxic materials. They need to be biodegradable and recyclable, all the while providing good grip and cushion. Let’s discuss our top picks for eco-friendly, sustainable yoga mats. Read along to learn in detail!
In a hurry? Check our top 3 picks:
5 Best Eco-friendly Yoga Mats
We need to be as conscious about the environment as we should be about our health. Here are the best eco-friendly yoga mats we recommend from our experiences-
1. Jade Yoga Harmony Mats
Thickness: 0.2 inches
Length: 68 inches, 74 inches
Width: 24inches, 28 inches.
Jade Yoga is the first US-based brand that uses natural rubber to make yoga mats. The company is environmentally committed and plants one tree for each Jade mat sold. Harmony mat is one of their best-sellers and most popular.
Harmony Mats by Jade Yoga is 99% latex-free. The natural rubber ensures that the mats are biodegradable at the end of their lives. Like other mats from Jade Yoga, the Harmony Yoga mat does not use any PVC, EVA, formaldehyde, glue, etc. toxic substances. Quality-wise, the mat is widely popular for its great traction and grip. At the same time, the mat also offers a firm bounce and is very comfortable.
- Available in more than a dozen colors
- It provides great traction and grip, so it’s excellent for tricky yoga and pilate poses
- It offers a firm bounce, so it’s comfortable
- Biodegradable at the end of its life
- It doesn’t break away in tiny pieces with each use
- Quite heavy, so it’s not suitable for travel
- Can’t spend a long time in the sun, as it will biodegrade.
2. Manduka eKO SuperLite Travel Mat
Thickness: 1.5 mm
Length: (i) Standard – 68 inches, 71 inches; (ii) Long – 79 inches
Width: 24 inches
Manduka is widely known among regular yogis, especially for sustainability and eco-friendly. Their eKO line offers 99% latex-free and 100% biodegradable mats. Like the rest of the line, eKO SuperLite travel matt is made from natural tree rubber, has zero harmful plastic, and produces zero waste.
The eKO SuperLite is popular because of its lightweight and portability. It adapts well to changing temperatures and terrains.
- Very lightweight and thin
- Foldable and portable, perfect for travel
- Good grip and longevity
- 99% latex-free, uses natural rubber
- More affordable than most travel yoga mats and offers free shipping
- Not supportive/cushy because of thinness
- Not suitable for extra-sweaty yoga sessions
- Many users have complained about the ‘rubbery smell.’
3. Gaiam Performance Jute Yoga Mat
Thickness: 0.2 inches
Length: 68 inches
Width: 24 inches
Gaiam is a brand committed to making sustainable healthy living accessible to all. The brand offers everything eco-friendly – from yoga mats to meditation chairs and more.
Their Performance yoga mat is made from a blend of renewable natural fiber jute and polymer environmental resin (PER). PER is a synthetic material, but unlike PVC, it gradually biodegrades. So, the mat is made of materials, and it’s also silicon-free and latex-free.
The mat provides dense cushion and support, but it’s also lightweight at the same time. So, it’s easy to transport. It is durable and nonslip, so it’s ideal for hot yoga. However, the mat’s texture may appear abrasive to those with sensitive skin.
- Non-slip and absorbs moisture, sweat
- Durable and sustainable
- Lightweight, easy to carry or transport
- Provides excellent cushion and grip
- May appear abrasive to sensitive skin
- Omits odor for the first few days. Air it out before use.
4. SugaMat Recycled Wetsuit Yoga Mat
Thickness: 5 mm
Length: Regular- 72 inches, extra-large- 72 inches
Width: Regular- 24 inches, extra-large- 25 inches
Suga recycles wetsuits into yoga mats, as the name evidently suggests. Each mat takes around one wetsuit, and Suga has recycled over 12,500 wetsuits so far. Additionally, the company offers a 10% discount if you donate a wetsuit. The mats are made from recycled material, and they are also recyclable. You can send back your worn-out mat and get it replaced with a new one for zero cost.
Quality-wise, the mat is sufficiently dense and provides great cushion and support. It also offers a firm bounce, so challenging yoga poses are easy to achieve. However, some users find the grip to be insufficient.
- Provides great cushion and firmness for support
- Gender-neutral color/design
- You can trade your worn out Suga wetsuit mat for a new one at no cost
- Long-lasting and durable, an investment for life
- Only available in charcoal color
- Quite heavy, not exactly suitable for carrying
- Many find the grip to be not sufficient
5. Yoloha Unity Cork Yoga Mat
Thickness: 6.5 mm
Length: 72, 80, 84 inches
Width: 26 inches, 30 inches
Yoloha is famous for its wide selection of eco-friendly, vegan, and non-toxic yoga mats. The company has a zero-waste policy, and its mats are handcrafted.
Like other Yoloha mats, the Unity mats are made from a blend of recycled cork and rubber from recycled tires. The tires go through a triple-washing process before recycling, so there are no heavy metals or harmful substances. The mats are 100% vegan and contain no PVC, latex, or plasticizers. The mat is antibacterial and durable; moreover, it dries quickly. It’s non-slip and can handle heavyweight.
- Provides excellent traction and grip
- Cushioned support provides firm bounce
- Dries quickly, suitable for hot/sweaty or intense sessions
- Anti-bacterial and eco friendly
- It comes with a 60-day refund or exchange policy
- The Cork layer may be prone to falling apart
- It May seem expensive to some consumers
- With continuous usage, it may lose its non-slip characteristic.
What Makes a Yoga Mat Eco-friendly: A Buying Guide
We do yoga to keep ourselves healthy. But, the yoga mat needs to be good for the environment. Here are a few qualities to look for if you want to purchase a sustainable, eco-friendly yoga mat-
- Non-toxic Safe Materials
Most yoga mats are made from polyvinyl chloride or PVC, a highly toxic type of plastic for humans and the environment. Moreover, to make PVC soft and flexible, harmful plasticizers like phthalates are added. Some polymer environmental resins (PER) are also just as bad. So, ensure your yoga mat is not made of these materials.
Other toxic materials that you should avoid are latex, silicone, synthetic, formaldehyde, etc. These substances are not biodegradable and harm the environment. Moreover, they can be harmful to your skin and health. Some yoga mats are made from recycled materials. But make sure the harmful substances are eliminated during recycling.
If you’re switching to yoga mats made from natural rubber, cork, or similar materials, make sure they are ethically made. Sometimes trees are cut down or harmed while making these yoga mats. So, conduct thorough research before buying yoga mats made from such materials.
- Recyclable and Biodegradable
Recyclability goes a long way in sustainable, eco-friendly actions. The option to exchange your worn-out mats is a bonus point, and not many companies or brands offer it. Additionally, biodegradability is the most significant plus point for sustainable products.
Make sure you’re not compromising your preference or comfort to buy yoga mats. Thankfully there are now many sustainable options for yoga mats by various brands. Ensure you are picking the right fit for yourself within your preferred budget.
Nowadays, the climate crisis is one of humanity’s biggest challenges. We should all do our part to help this crisis any way we can. We hope this article has helped you recognize the best eco eco-friendly yoga mats.
Have any more questions? Let us know!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are TPE yoga mats safe?
Ans: TPE or thermoplastic elastomer is a safe, non-toxic alternative to PVC. It’s a biodegradable plasticizer material and gradually decomposes in a landfill.
Q: How often should I clean my yoga mat?
Ans: According to experts, you should clean your yoga mat after each yoga session. But, the frequency of cleaning needs depends on the type/material and brand of your mat, the intensity of your workout, the environment you worked out in, etc.
Q: Are PER yoga mats environment-friendly?
Ans: Yes, PER or polymer environmental resin yoga mats are environmentally friendly. PER yoga mats are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, and safe, as they are free from latex, silicone, phthalates, or rubber.
Stephanie Ferland is an ex-gym trainer whose goal is to help people to achieve their desired fit body by doing effective exercises. She is also the founder of FitGirl Nation and a corporate wellness expert who’s crafted some of the world’s most popular workouts. With just nine and a half years of experience as a professional fitness trainer, Stephanie is often called a “Fit Celebrity.” Meet Stephanie and find out the 3 reasons why she never misses a workout!