The Trouble with Foam Blocks

The Trouble with Foam Blocks

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!

Abbie Sweet

Abbie Sweet is the owner and founder of Ekotex Yoga. She has worked within yoga studios alongside teachers and practitioners for ten years. Abbie has a great depth of knowledge and experience of both yoga props and sustainable design. Abbie has a bachelor degree in Herbal Medicine and makes healing blends for her family and friends in her spare time.


15 comments


  • Sonja Fletcher-Barnes

    Dear Abbey,

    Thank you for pointing out the origin of blocks and your dilemma.
    I would say, go with your heart, go with what you are standing for. Market why you think we should use cork and not plastic and make it your mission to educate! Then people will change their habits and move forward feeling greener .
    Be true to yourself and stand for what you believe and maybe talk to some science universities and to people that study there to help
    You develop a brand new material that is green?
    There are more possibilities, then you think. Be the change and lead by example.
    Lots of love
    Sonja


  • Sarena Mason

    Thanks for the update, education and inviting our feedback. That shipping rate increase is staggering!! xx


  • Megan Macgregor

    I’m an Iyengar teacher. I’ve desperately wanted wooden blocks and a wooden dhanurasana stool and setu bhanda Sarvangasana bench for the longest time. It has been almost impossible to source these outside of India until recently when Ekotex amazingly started offering wooden bricks.

    I would love to be able to buy more locally sourced and made yoga props and will continue to buy my props from you because ethically I support your intentions.


  • Gaynor Allen

    Thank you so much for this blog. I love your honesty, despite the impact on your company. I will fill in the survey.


  • Susan Smart

    Stand by your morals . Your products are great and if people want foam blocks let them go elsewhere . There are enough yoga studios and people with ethical interests to keep you going


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