Gaiam Yoga Mats do contain PVC materials, though they have some eco-friendly alternatives to PVC materials commonly used in these Chinese yoga mats.
And that answers the next question: Gaiam makes their yoga mats in China and Taiwan depending on the materials. This makes their yoga mats cheaper for the end consumer, but adds further sea miles and puts into the spotlight the fair trade and human trafficking practices.
Gaiam Yoga Mats and the PVC problem
There are people often asking the question “Are Gaiam yoga mats made from PVC?” And the answer is quite surprising.
Yes. Some Gaiam yoga mats contain harmful and toxic PVC which has harmful and negative consequences for the factory, the consumer and the environment.
PVC is plastic and the most toxic commercial plastic in mass production. As these yoga mats are made in China and Taiwan, manufacturing rules and regulations aren’t as strong as here in the western world.
In addition to the PVC you’ll find in Gaiam and other top brands, toxic chemicals including lead and phthalates are also used to help create a robust yoga mat. This is disappointing for these large and trusted brands in the yoga space.
Disposing of toxic chemical mats
With that in mind, would you be willing to dispose of your toxic yoga mat? Well, perhaps that isn’t the best idea.
Since many of these commercial yoga mats are made from PVC, it makes disposing of them quite difficult as does recycling them. When they reach landfills as they commonly do, burning them releases dioxin which is carcinogenic. Yes, carcinogens inside Gaiam yoga mats!
Essentially, by choosing a non-eco-friendly yoga mat, you have a non-recyclable and non-biodegradable yoga mat that can affect our environment in different ways. This includes groundwater contamination and reduced air quality, which impacts plants, children, adults and animals.
And yet, how did we get here? This all started because you bought that cheap yoga mat. It wasn’t just you either, as every month thousands of people buy these cheap PVC yoga mats which have little upside apart from their cost.
Instead, we recommend spending more for legitimate yoga mats that actually do good for the world.
Gaiam PVC-free yoga mats
Surely Gaiam has yoga mats which are PVC-free? They certainly do.
Here are their current best models:
- Natural Gaiam Performance Jute Yoga Mat
- Gaiam Performance Power-Grip Rubber Yoga Mat (has a micro-fibre top)
- The Gaiam Performance Cork Yoga Mat
- Recycled Gaiam Performance TPE Yoga Mat
Their best sellers, unfortunately, are those which contain PVC. Because of the low sales velocity of these yoga mats, you won’t find them in Gaiam’s Amazon store. Go check that link and you can even see for yourself. As the consumer becomes more inherently aware of these global issues, we look forward to seeing this change.
Why do people buy Gaiam PVC mats?
Price. People buy Gaiam’s PVC-filled yoga mats because they are cheaper than their premium eco-friendly versions. Also, those new to yoga are completely unaware of the personal and environmental consequences of their actions.
Also, some yoga studios who are buying in bulk can’t justify the expenditure of 25 new eco-friendly yoga mats and choose instead the cheap PVC versions until their business is profitable.
You can buy a cheap Gaiam yoga mat for $30 to $55, but those with thoughts of a cleaner world should expect to spend $100 to $200 for a great quality yoga mat with PVC-free materials.
Essentially, Gaiam yoga mats are toxic if you choose the cheap PVC versions which we don’t recommend.
It’s quite apparent by now that the world is waking up to this environmental disaster. We look forward to seeing fellow yoga brands get on board and lead the way for a cleaner future.
Sure – the consumer has expected products at a price and there are profits to be made. But profits ahead of humanity and environmental challenges? We don’t think so.
Trust us: Invest in a PVC-free Gaiam yoga mat if you’re serious about your yoga journey, your health and your planet tomorrow.