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An eco-friendly yoga mat usually refers to a yoga mat that is either made out of renewable resources or is completely biodegradable. As more and more people become concerned about the environment, eco-friendly yoga mats are becoming quite popular. These yoga mats were once quite expensive, but are now becoming more accessible and are going down in price.
An eco-friendly yoga mat can refer to a mat made out of a few different materials. These mats are not made out of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, a chemical that, in its manufacturing, releases harmful toxins into the environment. Some of these eco-friendly mats do not include latex either, which is important if you have an allergy. Eco-friendly yoga mats are usually made out of natural rubber, derived from a rubber tree, or from jute fiber, hemp or cotton.
If it is important to you, some eco-friendly yoga mats are also made with certified organic materials. Do not assume that just because the mat is biodegradable that it is organic. An eco-friendly yoga mat might also be made with thermoplastic elastomers, or TPE, a degradable type of plastic. Eco-friendly mats are available in many different patterns and colors to appeal to your tastes.
When purchasing an eco-friendly yoga mat, be sure that the mat is the correct thickness for you to be comfortable and is sticky enough that you won't be slipping off. If you do find yourself slipping off the mat, you may want to purchase a yoga towel to place on top of the mat to absorb sweat and prevent falls. If you will be traveling a lot, make sure that the mat is not too heavy. Be sure to clean your mat regularly.
If you've purchased a new eco-friendly yoga mat, you don't want to just throw the old one into the trash. Though you can't just put your old yoga mat out for recycling, there are other ways to re-use it without polluting the environment. Some yoga studios will accept gently used mats as donations. You might also donate the mat to a homeless shelter as a sleeping pad, or to an animal shelter to be placed in cages.
There are websites devoted to all the ways to re-use yoga mats. You might place the old yoga mat in the back of the car for pets to ride on, or place it under a pet's dish or by a litter pan to prevent spills on a nice floor. It might also be good to stand on a yoga mat in the workshop or kneel in the garden while you're working. Be creative -- you will certainly be able to find a use for it, and prevent filling up landfills with old discarded yoga mats.