Posted on July 11 2020
Bliss & Balance yoga mats are proudly free from nasty toxins such as PVC, chlorine, toxic glues and phthalates. Sounds great, but what does that actually mean?
The most common yoga mats these days are made from plastic, more specifically polyvinyl chloride (PVC) or vinyl. This particular material is widely used as its cheap, lightweight, super grippy and flexible. This all sounds ideal for the perfect yoga mat, however what many people don’t know about, is the damaging effects PVC has on the environment and our bodies.
So what’s the deal with PVC and why should we avoid it when choosing a yoga mat?
PVC’s lifecycle from start to finish is an absolute nightmare for our planet and our health. It is claimed by many health organisations as being the most environmentally damaging plastic ever used. It starts off as a hard plastic and contains heavy metals such as lead, petroleum and chlorine, which, during the manufacturing process, release the highly toxic environmental pollutant, dioxin, a known human carcinogen.
Next up, to soften the plastic and create flexibility suitable for a yoga mat, chemicals like phthalates are then added to the PVC. Phthalates have been linked to reproductive issues as they are a known endocrine disruptor. Over time, especially in warmer temperatures, such as a hot yoga studio, they leach, migrate or evaporate into the air indoors, or concentrate into dust, which we then breathe in. Eeek!
Finally, when a PVC mat is old and grotty and is time to be replaced, it can’t be disposed of in an eco friendly way as the toxins it’s made of, make it extremely difficult to recycle and if incinerated, it releases more of the dangerous chemical dioxin into our atmosphere. If this doesn’t sound very good, the only other option is to chuck it in landfill where over time, the toxic chemicals leach into the soil and additionally, the mat never actually breaks down as it is not biodegradable, causing tons of waste to congest our landfills.
In short, there is no safe way to produce, use or dispose of PVC yoga mats.
So, even though the cheap PVC mat may seem like a good idea for your wallet, it’s worth considering it’s harm to our planet and the effects on your health before making the commitment. A good yoga mat is an investment, hopefully one that will last you years before having to replace it again.
You won’t regret choosing an eco friendly version such as natural tree rubber (like Bliss & Balance mats), cork or jute which are all renewable resources and biodegradable at the end of their life, and as an added bonus, are safe for you too.