When conducting research in relation to the materials I should use I wanted something that would not add to the pollution of our environment. As we all know, there are numerous materials out there that are utilized for yoga mats. Such materials include PVC, TPE, rubber, Jute, and cotton. I also wanted a material that would work well no matter if you are doing hot yoga or not.
The issue with PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride is that it contains known carcinogens such as phthalates, dioxins, and Bisherol A (BPA). They are also known as endocrine disruptors. Not only is PVC toxic, it also can take up to 1000 years to biodegrade.
This leads us to those yoga mats that are "eco-friendly" but still made of PVC or yoga mats made of TPE. Eco-friendly PVC typically means the material is free from BPAs, phthalates or other toxins. The concern I had was that the "eco-friendly" PVC is still plastic material. Another material used in the yoga world is TPE. This material is typically a mixture of rubber and plastic. Considering how much plastic is produced in the world I was looking for a more natural material. The Plastic Pollution Coalition gives us insight into the significant impact we have on our world in regards to the utilization of plastic material.
Again, avoiding plastic material my research moved on to Jute and Cotton. Jute is found not to be as comfortable. Cotton mats were not considered due to the lack of grip it has on hard surfaces and their lack of durability.
This lead me to choosing the combination of cork and rubber. Cork has the benefits of being very sustainable because it is made from stripping cork trees. There is no need for the cork trees to be cut down. Having a rubber bottom means the mat will not lose its grip. Cork and rubber mats can even be used for hot yoga without a towel. In addition, cork is known to be antimicrobial. You can read more info about the antimicrobial benefits of cork at YogiApproved.