8 Sustainable Yoga Mats For The Best Workout Sessions

8 Sustainable Yoga Mats For The Best Workout Sessions

I love at home workouts. Four out of five days of the week I’ll grab my weights, hit my yoga mat, and do my favorite dumbbell YouTube workouts. I’ve actually had my yoga mat for years now, since I lived with my parents. It started out as my mom’s and kind of just became mine when I started using it daily. But I will admit, it is getting a bit old. I’ll eventually have to get a new one, but when I do, I really want to make sure it’s from a eco-friendly brand. Yes, sustainable yoga mats are a thing! Most are made from virgin plastic, which is a non-renewable resource that contributes to climate change. If you’re thinking of getting a new mat too, here are the best sustainable yoga mats to choose from.

FYI, this is a guest post written by Sydney Montagna, a zero waste advocate and aspiring writer. Intro was written by Ariana Storniolo. This post contains affiliate links. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a very small commission at no extra charge to you. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.

8 Sustainable Yoga Mats For The Best Workout Sessions

8 Sustainable Yoga Mats For The Best Workout Sessions

What is the most eco-friendly yoga mat material?

The most sustainable yoga mat material is anything made from natural, recycled, or renewable materials. Such as cork or natural tree rubber. The best material for you depends on your personal preference and what type of yoga you plan on doing.

For example, mats made with organic cotton are great for hot yoga thanks to their absorbent material while mats made with natural rubber work great for crossfit!

Here are some great examples of eco-friendly yoga mat materials:

  • Natural rubber– Harvested straight from rubber trees by extracting liquid sap (latex). Scoria and Manduka provide mats made from natural, non-Amazon harvested tree rubber.
  • Natural cork– Natural cork is the outer bark of a cork oak tree. It’s 100% natural, recyclable, reusable. The tree doesn’t need to be cut down, so the bark always grows back. Yoloha and Scoria have great cork yoga mat options.
  • Jute– jute comes from the bark of the white jute plant, which is primarily composed of the plant materials cellulose (major component of plant fiber) and lignin (major components of wood fiber). Oko Living provides great slip-resistant Jute yoga mats.
  • Organic Cotton- Organic cotton comes from non-genetically modified plants from subtropical countries such as Turkey, India, China, and parts of the USA. It doesn’t use fertilizers or pesticides that could end up polluting soil and waterways. Brentwood Home, Avocado, and Oko Living sell great organic cotton yoga mats that are perfect for hot yoga.
8 Sustainable Yoga Mats For The Best Workout Sessions
Ariana at a sunset rooftop yoga class during the summer. She brought her Gaia mat!

What is the healthiest material for a yoga mat?

The healthiest material for a yoga mat would include any natural material free from toxic chemicals, phthalates, synthetic dyes, PVCs, and plasticizers. Believe it or not, yoga mats made from questionable materials can have a negative effect on our skin, lungs, and overall health. 

Most conventional yoga mats are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a known carcinogen that has been linked to a number of health problems. This includes respiratory problems, allergies, and developmental issues. 

This is why it’s best to use brands that are vegan, B-Corp, GOTS-Certified, etc. These certifications let you know that their yoga mats are made ethically and sustainably. 

There are various types of yoga mats out there that you can choose from. Whether it’s for restorative yoga, hot yoga, or even Pilates. Yoga mats made from natural cork are antimicrobial- so it naturally inhibits mold, bacteria, and fungal growth for hygiene protection. 

Organic cotton is made without toxic pesticides and chemicals, making it safe for your skin. 

Are cork yoga mats better for the environment?

Cork yoga mats are great for the environment! They’re made from natural cork that’s grown on a cork oak tree, which is predominantly grown in Portugal. Natural cork is biodegradable and harvested by hand by removing the tree’s bark, making it a renewable resource that will continue to grow back every nine to ten for up to 200 years without harming the tree. 

Other than the remarkable ability to regenerate their bark, cork oak trees play a crucial role in combating climate change. A harvested cork oak tree absorbs up to five times more carbon dioxide than an unharvested tree, which helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Plus, cork oak forests support biodiversity. They provide habitats and homes to various kinds of plants and animals, making them some of the world’s most biodiverse ecosystems. 

Choosing a cork yoga mat material may be one of- if not THE- most sustainable yoga mat option out there.

Are silicone mats environmentally friendly?

Silicone yoga mats are not considered to be environmentally friendly. Producing silicone uses hydrocarbons, derived from petroleum, which isn’t sustainable or renewable. 

Silicone is made from silica- a substance found in sand. It’s durable and can withstand extreme temperatures, unlike plastic. However, the production process isn’t much better than plastics. Silicone is difficult to recycle, and most facilities won’t accept it. While it’s a suitable alternative to plastic, it’s not considered an eco-friendly alternative to mats made from PVC. 

What materials should you avoid in a yoga mat?

When picking out the right yoga mat for you, it’s important to be aware of what your mat is actually made of. Inhaling and touching harmful materials can do more harm to your body than you may think. 

The most common material you’ll see conventional yoga mats be made from is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC isn’t recyclable or biodegradable, meaning it will take hundreds of years for it to break down in a landfill. As stated earlier, it can cause numerous developmental and respiratory issues. 

Here are a few materials/chemicals to avoid in a yoga mat:

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)– An carcinogen extremely toxic to humans and the environment
  • ThermoPlastic Elastomer (TPE)– Made from oil derived plastic and natural rubber. Because of the plastics, it’s not easily biodegradable. 
  • Polyurethane (PU)– An oil-derived plastic commonly used in yoga mats. It’s extremely flammable, so toxic fire retardants are added.
  • Microfibre (polyester)- When washed, microfibres are too small to be filtered out by wastewater plants. This pollutes water systems and oceans, harming the environment and marine life. 

The best sustainable yoga mats

Okay, so now that you know what to look for, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite brands that produce sustainable yoga mats!


1. Scoria

  • Made from antimicrobial cork
  • Sustainably harvested
  • Backed with natural tree rubber
  • Portions of proceeds go to Right To Play for indigenous youth
  • Comes with cotton mat carry strap

Credit: Scoria via EarthHero


2. Avocado

  • Made from organic cotton + organic dunlop latex
  • Sustainably sourced materials 
  • Absorbent- perfect for hot & restorative yoga
  • Free from Synthetic rubbers, polyurethane, and other fossil fuel derivatives 
  • GOTS-Certified & Climate Neutral Certified
  • Vegan, machine washable

Credit: Avocado Mattress

Oko Living

3. Oko Living

  • Made from organic cotton + jute
  • Hand-loomed + plant-dyed
  • Free of chemicals, heavy metals, PVC, Phthalates, etc.
  • Herbal dyed with medicinal Ayurvedic plants
  • 100% biodegradable + plastic-free
  • Sweat & slip resistant
  • GOTS-Certified 

Credit: Oko Living via EarthHero

Brentwood Home

4. Brentwood Home

  • Made from organic certified cotton + natural latex
  • GOTS-Certified
  • Biodegradable & recyclable 
  • Perfect for hot yoga- works as a mat and towel
  • Free of polyurethane foam, PVC, synthetic rubbers, etc.

Credit: Brentwood Home


5. Manduka

  • Offers various mat options
  • Sustainably harvested tree rubber
  • Offers latex-free options
  • Certified Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX
  • Vegan + recyclable
  • Handcrafted in Germany

Credit: @MandukaYoga

Jade Yoga

6. Jade Yoga

  • Offers mats of different thickness
  • Made from renewable tree rubber
  • Free from PVC, EVA, + synthetic rubbers
  • Donates to charities using Color Cause program
  • Plants a tree for every mat purchase
  • Thicker mats great for pilates, restorative yoga, and cross-fit

Credit: @JadeYogaMats


7. Gaiam

  • * The one Ariana has! *
  • Mats made with all-natural Jute +PER
  • Recycled, natural materials
  • Durable, sustainable & absorbent 
  • Free from rubber, latex, phthalates, 6P, etc. 
  • Affordable

8. Yoloha

  • Made from fine grain plant foam (cork + sugarcane)
  • Made with 70% renewable materials
  • No PVCs, latex, plasticizers or rubber smells
  • 100% vegan, naturally antimicrobial + organic
  • Carbon Neutral
  • Donates portion of proceeds and yoga mats to youth, veterans & healthcare workers

Credit: @Yolohayoga

So, which of these sustainable yoga mats would you pick? Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments!

Don’t forget to grab some sustainable activewear too before your next workout!

Enjoyed this post? Be sure to share it! If you like my content, sign up for my newsletter to get notified every time I write a new blog post. To support me even further, please consider buying me a cup of tea to help support my blog.

Guest post: Sydney Montagna is an advocate for animals and plastic-free living. She is studying English and is an aspiring writer. In her spare time, you can find her watching classic TV shows and researching all things Michael Jackson related.

By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *