At Ekotex Yoga in Scotland, we will always create naturally beautiful, ethical and durable yoga mats and props designed to support yogis as much as supporting the planet.
Ekotex Yoga began in July 2017 when our founder, Abbie Sweet, was six months pregnant with her son Tom. Abbie worked as the manager of The Yoga Shop, which was closing down. Ekotex Yoga was an opportunity for her to continue doing the job she loved, whilst working around her new family.
Following Tom's birth, the first container shipment arrived. Abbie experienced a moment of clarity which led to the ekotex yoga you see today. 'I was surrounded by boxes sealed with plastic tape that could not easily be recycled; EVERYTHING in each box, from the largest bolster to every individual yoga strap, was wrapped in plastic bags and cling wrap—thousands of tiny plastic bags. The plastic foam blocks and plastic mats were wrapped in more plastic. I was holding Tom, I stood and looked at all of the stock, and I called myself out. I was a company director, an entrepreneur and a new Mum and people were telling me to be proud - but those were all terms for my ego. My actions deserved a different description; I was a "plastic-distributor." I was buying and re-selling plastic that would all end up under the soil, all in the name of 'yoga'. They would be my footprints on Earth. After that, there was no going back - I could not continue treading that path. I had to be better.'
Values & Mission
Pure and simple, we walk more lightly on this planet:
- We want to deepen our yoga practice by working in a simple and integrated way, creating high-quality products you can trust are ethical and rely on for durability.
- We want to feel gratitude for every step, every element and believe our yogi customers want to feel gratitude, too. We always say thank you.
We will always create naturally beautiful, ethical and durable yoga mats and props designed to support yogis as much as supporting the planet. Our products are organic wherever possible. We use zero single-use plastic, and to limit our footprint, we have started making as many products as possible in the UK and Europe.
All our cotton goods are certified organic. Our cotton-goods suppliers are independently inspected and hold a certification which can only be issued if specific social criteria are met; it ensures everyone who works on our products is paid fairly and works in a safe environment.
Our staff policy in the UK is to pay the real living wage as a minimum. Warehouse operating hours are within school hours to accommodate working parents.
We regularly donate to food banks and anti-trafficking organisations, including Yoga Stops Traffick.
- We use minimal packaging and the majority of products have no display packaging at all. We do not use any single use plastic.
- We wrap all textile based products with recycled brown paper.
- We only use recycled paper as void fill packaging (occasionally we will reuse bubble wrap that we have been sent, but we never buy this ourselves.)
- Boxes are sealed with paper tape which ensures are cardboard boxes can be recycled more easily. Occasionally we reuse a box which already has plastic tape on it.
- As of Autumn 2022 we will not be restocking EVA foam.
- We use PVC in some of our yoga mats. These are all Oeko-Tex II and Made in Green certified and incorporate 50% reclaimed post production waste.
- All of our fabrics are organic cotton and are ordered from a GOTS certified supply and we receive GOTS transaction certificates for all of our cotton-based products.
- We use a range of natural fillings - no polyesters or synthetic fillings. These are organic wherever possible and are sourced from the EU or the UK.
Organisational Level - Investing in the Future
We support Plastic Bank and Eden Reforestation via Greenspark. We rescue 1 x plastic bottle every time we place an order. We fund the planting of 1 tree for every website order over £50. This averages at 1200 trees planted per year.
Our vision - 'Yogis around the world will practice with sustainable props in complete balance with their beliefs and their planet.'
We want to make an impact on the 'industry' that yoga has become. First and foremost, we have to operate as a business to do this so that we can deliver excellent products at great prices to our customers. From here, we aim to make a significant, positive impact on the environment. By 'operate as a business, I mean to be professional in all we do. From the level of service, you experience to the product itself. We will deliver.
The 'yoga industry' is a contradiction where the environment is concerned. As individuals, yoga practitioners are thoughtful consumers - that is part and parcel of our yoga practice. However, when you look at the bulk of the products on the market, very few are genuinely environmentally friendly. The vast majority of mats are made from virgin plastic. The word 'plastic' is never used, but this is the material we practice on. The most popular pro mat in the world - made from virgin plastic. The UK's most popular sticky mats - made from virgin plastic.
There are natural alternatives, such as jute, rubber, cork. But the cost is often prohibitive or the lifespan very short, especially for a new teacher or studio on a shoe-string. When produced without harmful chemicals like phthalates, PVC can be a comfortable and non-toxic surface to practice on. It is closed-cell and can be kept clean. It lasts forever, and it is cheap. For this reason, the majority of teachers I speak to ultimately end up using our high-quality PVC mats in their studios. Knowing all of this and having managed a yoga studio, I would make the same decision if I had limited funds.
It is my belief that the industry needs to provide consumers with a better option. And we will get there.