We've traveled to Asia to better understand the materials we're using for our Splay Yoga Mats. Many have asked what are the differences between Thermoplastic Elastomers (TPE), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) and more importantly, why is one more expensive than the other. This article will provide the basics and our reasons for selecting TPE for our yoga mats.
TPE is the best and most expensive material but for all the right reasons. First and foremost, it is the most eco-friendly out of the three materials. It provides great grip, a balanced cushion, and holds form longer.
EVA is moderately eco-friendly considered to be less toxic than PVC. The knock on EVA is it could be too soft and too light to use but is the cheapest material out of the three, you get for what you pay for.
PVC cannot be recycled and does not biodegrade. Even worse, during the manufacturing process, it releases toxic chemicals and carcinogens. It tends to have a sticker surface, heavier, and holds shape relatively well.
Are All TPE Mats Equal?
The short answer is 'No.' From our visits to several factories, we learned all factories have different standards. Whether its the manufacturing process, the percentage of TPE used to produce a mat, or the quality check levels, factories vary vastly. Most factories will claim they manufacture from raw ingredients to the finished goods but few actually do so.
The yoga mat factories we partner with are SGS certified insuring the products we deliver pass standards set by SGS and more importantly, are aligned with how Sprive does business. We audit, inspect, and frequently visit our partners to insure they're doing things the Sprive way. Our goal is to deliver a well-designed, high quality product that is eco-friendly and budget friendly.