Yoga Mat Showdown: TPE, PVC, Rubber
TPE, PVC, and rubber yoga mats are currently the most popular types of yoga mats. Sometimes, deciding between them can be a difficult decision, because there may be more factors to consider than you initially thought. If you want to reduce your ecological footprint, you can choose different yoga mat types, but you may sacrifice other functions. Or, you may want a better yoga mat, even if it is more harmful to the environment.
Rubber yoga mats are probably the most environmentally friendly you can find on the market. They are sustainably created using natural rubber extracted from renewable rubber trees. In addition, rubber yoga mats do not contain additional materials, such as EVA, or synthetic rubber types.
A rubber yoga mat is definitely one of the first choices for yoga practice. They are environmentally friendly, very comfortable, and have a superior grip. These mats are also antibacterial, so they are easier to clean.
This yoga mat also has some disadvantages. If you are allergic to latex materials, you may get allergic reactions from some rubber yoga mats. In addition, natural rubber yoga mats are usually heavier than similar products, so they are less portable.
The price of rubber yoga mats is much higher than that of TPE and PVC yoga mats. So, you can decide whether you want natural, eco-friendly properties, and higher quality, but at the expense of portability; or something less environmentally friendly, but more compact.
TPE yoga mat
Thermoplastic elastomer (TPE), also known as thermoplastic rubber, is a copolymer or a mixture of polymers. Generally, the polymers of synthetic TPE materials are plastic and rubber. In short, TPE is composed of thermoplastic and elastic materials. Therefore, TPE yoga mats are made of thermoplastic elastomers and other materials. Fusion with other materials is accomplished by closed-cell foaming at high temperatures. After this process, the TPE yoga mat is easier to clean and resistant to various microorganisms.
In addition, TPE materials also have the advantages of strong eco-friendliness, good elasticity, and recyclability; this makes TPE yoga mats more environmentally friendly than PVC yoga mats. You see, TPE materials have some properties of non-PVC, non-toxic, and non-heavy metal materials. This shape makes the TPE yoga mat suitable for travel and family use.
TPE yoga mats are relative newcomers to the yoga mat market. Currently, it is the most popular among high-spending groups in the United States, Europe, and China. Due to its high performance and high environmental protection, its market potential is huge.
PVC Yoga Mat
This yoga mat is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin powder and tear-resistant fibers. Both of these materials use open-cell technology to generate foam at high temperatures. You might ask, what is this technology? To make a long story short, it helps the mat absorb sweat and grease, which makes the mat more suitable for grabbing people, but the mat may also attract more bacteria. In addition, open battery technology makes PVC yoga mats more difficult to clean.
PVC yoga mats are all-rounders of yoga mats; this is due to the high density of the PVC material and the mat itself. So, you can easily transfer your yoga class outdoors, whether in a heated room or an unheated room, because PVC is quite durable. In addition, for more dynamic yoga styles, such as hot yoga, practicing on a PVC yoga mat is great! Because of the elasticity of PVC, you can easily roll or fold the PVC yoga mat.
What is the quality of this material for the environment? PVC will not win any awards for the most environmentally friendly materials. Why is this? PVC contains phthalates. These are combined with plastic materials to increase the flexibility and durability of plastic materials. The problem is that in the manufacturing process of PVC yoga mats, phthalates have a negative impact on the environment. In addition, phthalates can also cause some health problems, such as endocrine disorders, diabetes, obesity, and weakened immunity.
Even though PVC may not be the most environmentally friendly material, it is still not so important to the environment to some extent. Since PVC yoga mats are very durable, there is no need to discard and replace them.
Currently, in the yoga mat market, PVC yoga occupies the largest market share. This is not surprising, because, in addition to the environmental and health effects, these yoga mats are more portable, less slippery, and easy to clean. However, you never know what other chemicals are mixed with PVC materials, so always be careful.
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