The Trouble with Foam Yoga Blocks
We love using foam props, and they definitely enhance our practice. But, as an eco-minded company, doing our best to avoid a greenwashing - we are hitting a bit of a wall with this particular group of products!
We stock 50% recycled EVA foam bricks and blocks. We do not cling wrap our foam, like many suppliers. There is no single-use plastic packaging waste. But despite these changes, foam props are still frustratingly unsustainable.
Then why do we stock it?
Our internal dialogue -"Because our customers want it, our customers are familiar with it, and if we did not stock it they would not understand why and shop elsewhere. We would go out of business."
Did you know? It is difficult, all but impossible, to source foam products anywhere outside of East Asia - although we are trying.
There is a demand for foam yoga props, and they are a valued part of a yoga teacher's toolkit. What did teachers use before? Wood, bamboo, cork. Why did we start using foam? Because it was marketed to us. It is softer, it is cheaper. They told us it was non-toxic. But does it cost us less?
The environmental cost
Foam is a plastic paste (crude oil in origin) that is 'blown' using chemical gases, it is largely air. These blocks of plastic puffed up with gas, travel to us in shipping containers halfway around the globe.
The human cost
Plastics are not good for us, we're hearing this more and more. Plastics are in the air, our food, within us - they interfere with our immune systems and our hormones. EVA foam was once considered a non-toxic plastic, and one of the kinder and safer materials to use. As always, science has caught up and in some instances, it may be toxic. Google formamide and EVA foam.
The financial cost
Rising shipping rates will soon mean your foam block will cost the same as a cork block. Container rates have exploded. This time last year, it would cost us $1600 to import a container of foam blocks. This year, it will cost us $16000. Yes, you read that correctly! And these rates are not going down anytime soon.
Yoga existed before foam... What are we doing? What is your yoga practice worth?
A piece of 'plastic + air' sails halfway around the world, for the sake of our yoga practice. Is our comfort and colour preference worth this? Do you want that sacrificed from our planet?
Help us decide, and tell us what you want! We're giving away FIVE cork prop kits (cork block, cork brick, organic cotton strap.) For a chance to win, please take two minutes to complete our foam opinion poll. We'd really love to hear your thoughts!