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10 Best eco yoga mats in the UK

Edwina Langley
·9-min read
 (Yoga Design Lab)
(Yoga Design Lab)

Why shouldn’t we be using PVC yoga mats when there are so many around? They’re great for grip, aren’t they? They’re affordable. And they take a really long time to wear through. So what if they’re too expensive and impractical to recycle? Or that they take hundreds of years to decompose when thrown out? Who really cares that dioxin, a highly dangerous toxic chemical, is released if they are incinerated instead? It doesn’t matter all that much – does it?

If you are suspiciously eyeballing your yoga mat right now, terrified of what it might be made from, we don’t blame you. But thankfully, there are now a number of eco-friendly options to choose from. Whilst we don’t recommend you chuck out your old PVC mat to buy one, perhaps you could retire it from yoga and find another use for it – just to stop you from glaring at it as you attempt your next downward facing dog.

What makes a yoga mat, eco-friendly?

The answer is simple: if it has been made from natural materials. The super eco-friendly ones use materials that are sustainably sourced, and for full marks, the mats should really come in recyclable packaging as well.

“We should be trying, in every area of our lives, to think about our impact on the planet,” says yoga expert Nadia Narain. "I use Jade Yoga mats. They are environmentally-friendly and not slippery, which is usually the main problem with such mats. Jade Yoga also plant a tree for every mat they sell, and the mats last a good while too."

If you care about the environment and are in need of a new yoga mat – or looking to buy your very first – check out our edit of the ten best eco-friendly mats on the market.d

Best eco yoga mats in the UK

Liforme Original Yoga Mat

Determined not to use toxic inks, Liforme’s alignment lines are not painted onto the mats but etched, and through the use of ‘an innovative heat-bonding process’ – to stick top and bottom together – no toxic glue has been used in their design.

Offering fantastic grip, they are fully recyclable and not dressed in plastic on arrival – so if it’s a totally eco-friendly mat you’re looking for, this should be a hot contender.

Liforme
Liforme

£100 | Liforme

Also available on Amazon

Jade Yoga Elite S Mat

Material: Natural rubber

Thickness: 3/16"

Jade mats are sustainably made using natural rubber, which has been sourced from rubber trees. Worried about cutting trees down? As Nadia explains above, Jade Yoga plant a tree for every mat sold – in fact, over 1,700,000 trees have been planted so far.

Designed for serious yogis, Jade Yoga Elite mats are suitable for ‘vigorous practice’, which means they would be well-suited to Ashtanga practitioners. Their extra thick top layer means they can be used time and time again, and best of all, there is not one spec of PVC or EVA in them either. Their flat surface offers great grip as well.

Jade
Jade

£92.20 | Amazon

Manduka eKO Yoga Mat 5mm

Material: Natural rubber

Thickness: 5mm

Manduka’s eKO range is well-known amongst eco-friendly yogis, and its eKO Yoga Mat 5mm would make a fine investment. Available in 180cm x 66cm or the slightly longer 200xm x 66cm, yoga teachers contributed to its four-year development process which means it has been tried and tested by the experts.

Made from biodegradable natural tree rubber (not from the Amazon), the mats are treated by non-toxic foaming agents, which means they are softened without the use of harmful chemicals. Eschewing straight synthetic polyester, Manduka combine polyester with natural cotton to reinforce these mats – mats which are 99 per cent latex free.

In terms of performance, they are excellent vis-à-vis grip, thanks to Manuka’s specialist Tri-Layer Technology. Their top layer repels moisture to stave off bacteria, whilst their bottom delivers sufficient cushioning.

And when it comes to looks, well, they are offered in some truly vibrant hues, like ‘esperance marbled’ and ‘acai midnight’. Whilst discolouration may happen over time, this is often the case with natural rubber – and really, it just means you’re putting your mat to good use.

Manduka
Manduka

€90 | Manduka

​Liforme Purple Earth Mats

Material: Natural sourced sustainable rubber

Thickness: 4.2mm

Made from natural rubber, these mats feature Liforme’s specially designed eco-friendly foam, eco-polyurethane, which means they are crafted without the use of any toxic materials, or PVC either. Furthermore, not only are they biodegradable, Liforme actually reveal how long they will take to decompose: between one and five years in landfill.

Determined not to use toxic inks, Liforme’s alignment lines are not painted onto the mats but etched, and through the use of ‘an innovative heat-bonding process’ – to stick top and bottom together – no toxic glue has been used in their design.

Offering fantastic grip, they are fully recyclable and not dressed in plastic on arrival – so if it’s a totally eco-friendly mat you’re looking for, this should be a hot contender.

LIFORME
LIFORME

£100 | Liforme

Complete Unity Yoga Green Eco-Yoga Mat

Material: Natural tree rubber

Thickness: 2mm

On the cheaper end of the spectrum, this mat is made from sustainable plant-based materials, in the UK. Composed of natural jute fibre which is ‘encased’ in 100% natural rubber (which, alas, does contain latex), it is biodegradable, produced ethically and comes in three colours: green, natural and grey.

It’s also lightweight – so great to take on holiday – plus it boasts incredible grip on top and bottom, the latter, due to its rubber underside. And speaking of which, it’s this rubber underside which gives the mat its double-sided use. CUY suggest using the jute side for yoga asana, and flipping the mat over to use the textured rubber base for meditation.

It delivers enough support for general use, and has been designed as non-slip too. A good all-rounder.

Complete Unity Yoga
Complete Unity Yoga

£39 | Complete Unity Yoga

OHMAt 7Chakra

Material: Natural rubber

Thickness: 3mm

No latex, no silicone, no toxic glue – phew! Made from 100% natural and sustainable materials, these mats were designed by Dutch yoga teacher Debbie, who knows what the yogis want. Boasting an absorbent microfibre layer, which covers the biodegradable rubber body, it soaks up sweat during practice meaning these mats make a sound choice for those who enjoy hot yoga.

Cleaning them is easy as they’re machine-washable on a wool programme. Or, as Debbie suggests, they can be handwashed in the shower with natural soap – though avoid wetting the rubber too much as this can affect its sturdiness.

These little numbers also look rather good. Adorned with unique water-based ink designs, even their colourings are eco-friendly.

ohmat
ohmat

€85 | Ohmat

Pro Cork Yoga Mat

Material: Cork

Thickness: 4mm

Is there anything more annoying than a yoga mat that curls up at the ends? If ever there were a reason to go for this Cork Pro Yoga Mat, that would surely be it. Made from Portuguese cork and natural rubber, its strong construction means it lays out completely flat, so from a purely non-irritating perspective, this one gets the thumbs up. It’s non-slip, 100% sweatproof and, wait for it, since cork is naturally antimicrobial, it eliminates bacteria and odours a treat.

It’s eco-friendly credentials include the fact it is biodegradable and that its components have been sustainably sourced. Finally, its packaging is fully recyclable too – and no, it’s not covered in plastic. When it comes to fulfilling all eco-friendly criteria, this one aims high.

Corkspace
Corkspace

£65 (down from £79) | Corkspace

Yogamatters Eco Everyday Yoga Mat

Material: Natural Tree Rubber

Thickness: 4mm

As their name suggests, these mats are suitable for everyday use plus they have been cushioned for comfort. With a textured surface, they offer sound grip so you can expect a non-slip experience.

Made from sustainably harvested natural tree rubber and – here’s a bonus – recycled materials, they are themselves also recyclable. Plus they’re biodegradable. They are 99% latex free, contain no nasties – like toxic dyes or chemicals – and they come in five bold colours, from ‘grape’ to ‘flame orange’. If you’re just starting out at yoga, and wannabe as earth-friendly as possible, look to one of these.

Yoga Matters
Yoga Matters

£60 | Yoga Matters

Yogi Bare Paws Natural Rubber, Extreme Grip

Material: Natural rubber

Thickness: 4mm

‘Extreme grip’ says it all really. These mats are for those in need of it. Complete with non-slip technology, they are crafted from natural rubber and PU – that’s polyurethane – which means, yes, they tick the eco-friendly box.

What stands out in particular about this mat is its slick design. With a large paw print in the middle, it has a clear environmentally-friendly feel, and although it comes in a range of colours, we think the grey version is particularly smart. Weighing 2.5kg it’s on the heavier side, but for the fantastic grip it offers, it’s worth lugging around.

Yogi Bare
Yogi Bare

£56.95 | Yogi Bare

Yoga Studio Cotton Rugs

Material: Organic cotton

Thickness: n/a

Those wanting authentic yoga gear might look to buy a natural organic cotton rug, woven through traditional methods. These sustainable Yoga Studio mats have been crafted in India – the birthplace of yoga – and since they’re made of cotton, you don’t have to worry about PVC-anything.

The fabric absorbs sweat, which makes these rugs an excellent choice for hot yoga practitioners or those yogis who perspire a fair bit – indeed, their grip improves as they get wetter.

Yet, because they’re made entirely of cotton they don’t have great grip on the underside, which means they are liable to slide around a bit. Still, they come with tassels and are by far the most elegant of the options on our list. And since they fold easily, they make a good travelling mat too.

Yoga Studio
Yoga Studio

£28 | Yoga Studio

Yoga Design Lab, Combo Mat – Geo (EU)

Material: 100% natural tree rubber, with sueded microfiber made from recycled plastic

Thickness: 3.5mm

Yes, yes they contain the dreaded plastic, through their absorbent sueded microfibers – which have been ‘bonded’ with the 100% natural tree rubber body – however, do not panic people, because this plastic has been recycled! From plastic bottles! Hurrah!

These mats provide good support, by way of cushioning and grip, indeed, the latter improves with water (and by that we mean, sweat). Using water-based inks for colouring, they are recyclable and biodegradable, and have no odour – so there’s no rubbery smell when you open them up for the first time.

They come with a carrying strap, so they’re easy to transport, and you can wash them in the machine on a cold wash as well. A worthy contender.

Yoga Design Lab
Yoga Design Lab

£64 | Yoga Design Lab

Verdict

While there are a number of good options in this list, Liforme comes out on top. They provide grip, the markers are useful for alignment and the fact the mats are not only PVC-free but come in recyclable packaging too, really clinched it.

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