Love Earth - diverting preloved yoga mats from landfill

Cate Peterson is the founder of Yoga Pass and LovEarth mats. She is a Sydney based yoga teacher  on a mission to divert preloved yoga mats from landfill while supporting other yoga leaders with charitable causes.

Find out about how you can relinquish preloved mats without adding to a landfill disaster.

Cate says, ” As a yoga community I think we need to take responsibility  for what’s happening at the base.”

We chat about :

  • The nasty petro chemicals in the non eco yoga mats.
  • What Lovearth mats are made from.
  • How to collect old yoga mats for charitable causes, reusing and recycling.
Listen Here: 

 

Prefer to read?…here are the show notes.

Bettina: What took you down the path of developing a yoga mat?

Cate: Guilt! I was teaching corporate yoga for 10 years and bought in well over 1000 mats. They were pink and bright orange, bright green and I starting to think this isn’t a good thing.

I started to wonder what does and eco mat mean. So it took us about 2 years of to-ing and fro-ing with the samples and we came up with the LovEarth mat.

Bettina: What is the LovEarth mats made from?

Cate: It’s one of the “greenest” on the market, so we are standing up amongst  Jade and Manduka,  [mats] as an eco product.  The Love Earth is made of jute and rubber and that’s it. Tree rubber not synthetic rubber, no petro chemicals. At the moment it is Non Fair Trade jute and rubber, but we are looking to get a bigger market share so we can insist  our suppliers work with  Fair Trade rubber & jute. The other big “green” thing about this product is that its not green, pink or orange. It’s no color. A lot of the poison comes from the dyes that they use in the mat,  they are grouse, if you knew what was in those dyes you wouldn’t want to put your nose or your hands near it.

B: It must be hard to influence the buyer’s choice.

C: Yes it is, a lot of people are influenced by bright beautiful colors  and aesthetics. The other problem is that the mat doesn’t lend itself to the gruelling conditions of regular studio use by a lot of students. Because its colourless the wear and tear gets to it. We’re working on a studio mat that will have a color, probably green or brown, some thing fairly innocuous, so it doesn’t tarnish so much in a heavily used studio setting.

B: There a  lot of acronyms we see these days like; not PVC or PER or TPE what are these ingredients that we should be looking out for and steering away from. [6:00]

C: Well, I’m no biochemist but TPE is better than PVC. The really cheap mats they make from plastic, and they are the more dangerous. TPE & PER are a step in the right direction. Lululemon use TPE mats. But its still petro chemically derived, it depends on your attitude towards peek oil and petroleum derived material. It relies on petro chemical rather than sustainable plant products.

As I mentioned earlier this is a work in action,  the LovEarth mats are made out of rubber and jute, but the emulsification of the rubber is still a bit of an issue and apparently quite heavy chemicals are used in that. So there washed off, but that needs to be washed off to some where. We are talking to chemist’s about different ways of how we can emulsify that rubber with out heavy residue or heavy run off… [7:00] That’s an issue for all yoga mats and I think it’s an issue that needs to be solved.

 B: Now at the end of the life of a yoga mat, generally they g, I don’t know , I guess into land fill. But your on a bit of a mission to change that.

C: Yes I’m on a mission I really am. And I think a lot of yoga studios are coming awake on this issue. Today I’m going over to Power Living in Manly, they are handing over a huge amount of mats. Fiona from  Verona Ashtanga have donated at lot of mats a few other studios have too. We are on a mission to encourage studio owner not to throw those mats into land fill. It’s a terribly un- yogic thing to do. A lot of them don’t rot. Love Earth mats do. I have some amazing images of mats that we have planted in a compost pile about 4 months ago that are dissolving to nothing.

Most yoga mats the ones petrochemically derived don’t rot and the sit in land fill and leach nasty chemicals into the environment slowly for the next 100 years.

We are on a mission to collect mats and send them off to various charitable yoga causes. [9:00] A number of studios in New Zealand donate old mats to animal shelters.

We grade the mats into two groups those that are quite dirty and those that are quite fine and can be used again by humans. There are lots and lots of ideas on our website on how to reuse and recycle mats check it out on  www.lovearth.com.au.

We have about 5 charities that we are working with in Australia and I’d love to encourage any yoga teachers out there that have other ideas on how they could use a source of free mats to contact us.

B: What happens if you’re not in Sydney how do studios in other states recycle their mats through your program? Is there a depot in Melbourne or do they have to be sent over to NSW?

C: I’m saving up my cash at the moment to buy big bags and boxes to distribute to yoga studios so that they can collect old mats for pickup.

B: Anyone out there with a recycle company that could help out Cate with her initiative who could promote thier ethical practices in conjunction with Cate?  Please get in contact with Cate Peterson at info@yogapass.com.au and get involved in the recycle your Yoga Mat program.

 C: We are hoping to settle an agreement with Rebel sport to host a recycle program that will head yoga mats away form land fill. This will be great because it will broaden the initiative to the general community as well as yoga studios. [13:40]

B: So what’s the story about you going to Taiwan to chat to you suppliers can people jump on board and come along with you?

C: Yes I’d love the company. In April 2013 I hope to do a photo essay about manufacturing mats I expect to see the good, bad and the ugly. As a yoga community I think we need to take responsibility to for what’s happening at the base. So if you at all interested in this please call me.

B: What else would yo like to tell us before we wrap up?

C: Keren from Anahata Healing does a great job of supporting studios and teachers throughout Australia with programs for people who have been through or going through cancer. We send out pre loved mats to any of the people who register for Anahata Healing. Those mats are gather in Queensland and sent out from there. The other place we are sending them is Sunnyfield homes in NSW supported by Yoga Aid. And also to Bali via Carly Shoud’s program that teaches older orphans to become yoga teachers and they also run hospitality courses.

B: I have goosebumps I had no idea how much work you have personally done for the recycle program.

C: Don’t for get to look at the website to check out ways to reuse your old  mats.  http://www.lovearth.com.au/

 Buy your LovEarth mat at Yoga Bazaar

 

Studios involved in collecting mats include: -

  • Verona Ashtanga Studio NSW

 

  • Power Living Manly, NSW

 

  • Wellbeing at Work Denise in South Australia is donating them to homeless shelters for people to sleep on.

 

  • Atira Tan,  Art to Healing Program in Asia

 

  • Anaharta Healing ://www.anahatahealing.com.au – QLD

 

  • Carly Shoud –yoga teacher program for orphans in Bali- Perth

 

  • Sunnyfield homes supported by Yoga Aid

 

Go here for great ideas for uses for old pre loved yoga mats.

 

Contact Cate Peterson at info@yogapass.com.au and get involved in the recycle your Yoga Mat program.


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