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Are Yoga Mats Recyclable?

Updated on August 16, 2019

Yoga mats are usually very durable. However, there comes a time when they can no longer serve their primary purpose- make your yoga sessions as comfortable as possible. When that time comes, you don’t have to throw out your yoga mat into the trash. You can recycle your yoga mat or reuse it. In this article, I will let you know how you can recycle your old yoga mat for other purposes.

Most yoga mats are recyclable. The only type of yoga mats that are difficult to recycle are those that are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material. The alternative to PVC yoga mats includes cotton, natural rubber, and yoga mats made from a combination of polyester and polyolefin materials.

How to recycle and reuse your yoga mats

Are yoga mats recyclable? Yes, they are recyclable. Anybody who tells you otherwise would be lying to you and doesn’t care about the environment. Do not listen to them! Instead of throwing the worn-out yoga mats out you can recycle them and put them to other uses around the house. This article will comprehensively look at various ways you can contribute to environmental conservation by recycling and reusing your old yoga mats. Here are 11 ways in which you can recycle your yoga mats;


1. Make lying surface area for pets

Old yoga mats can make for comfortable mats for pets. Your pets will no longer have to ruin the back seat of your car or your chair cushions. Neither do they have to lie on the cold floor because of their naughtiness. You can spread the mats on their favorite spots. They get to be comfortable while you preserve the condition of your seats. It is, however, important to train your pets not to nibble on the mats because it can interfere with their digestion.


2. Turn them into rugs and placemats

More often than not, we spill food and drinks on the floor. You need something to contain all that dirt. Floor rugs can be quite expensive if you are on a budget. If you have an old yoga mat lying around the house, you can convert it into a floor rug. All you have to do is cut the yoga mat and reshape it. You can be as creative as you want.

You can also cut the yoga mat into smaller pieces and make placemats for coasters or a dinner table. This can add the aesthetic value of your dinner table whether indoors or outdoors. The yoga mats have the added benefit of being durable and water-resistant.

3. Accessorize the kitchen

Old yoga mats would make for a great accessory in the kitchen. Since they are mostly waterproof, you can place them under a drying to keep the wet dishes from dripping on the kitchen counters. They can also serve as a soft surface for placing fragile kitchenware such as dishes and glasses. Besides that, they can help in absorbing noise from loud kitchenware such as pans and pots.

Painted Yoga Mat Turned Runner
Painted Yoga Mat Turned Runner | Source

4. Seating for outdoor activities

Weekends are usually for family picnics and outdoor sports. Standing all through outdoor sports can get pretty tiring. You also don’t want to risk soiling your clothes. Old yoga mats can be used for sitting on the grass whenever you are engaged in an outdoor activity. Even if there are benches for sitting, you can use the yoga mats as a cushion to make for soft seating. They are much softer and stronger than using towels.

Furthermore, you can place the yoga mats under your sleeping pad when camping to get extra padding and softness.

5. Use as artwork

If you have children around the house, they are likely to make drawings on the walls and floors. You can use an old yoga mat to make an artboard for them to do their drawings and paintings so that they don’t have to mess up your walls. You will no longer have to spend hours scrubbing their work off your walls.

You can also cut the yoga mats into small pieces for a colorful mouse pad for your desktop.

World's largest yoga mat artwork is now a gallery exhibit
World's largest yoga mat artwork is now a gallery exhibit | Source

6. Make a kneeling mat for the garden

If you have a backyard garden, then you will no longer have to worry about bruised knees when working on the garden. All you have to do is trim the old yoga mat to your preferred size. It should not, however, be too big that it tramples on the vegetables planted in the garden. You can also fold it over a few times for additional cushioning. You will be more comfortable when weeding or doing other tasks in the garden.

7. Use as bubble wrap for packages

When moving out or mailing packages, you may need to put them in a bubble wrap to prevent damages and breakages. If you have an old yoga mat lying idly around the house, you don’t have to spend money on buying bubble wraps. You can simply cut down the old mat and use it as a bubble wrap for your package.

8. Use them to provide extra padding

You can reuse old yoga mats to provide extra padding in a variety of situations. Is your trunk too hard on your back? Do you need extra padding under your beach towel? Could you do with an extension on your hammock and extra padding? The answer to all these questions lies in the old yoga mat that you are thinking of throwing away. Besides being recyclable, yoga mats are also eco-friendly and you won’t have to worry about sabotaging environmental conservation efforts. The only way you will frustrate environmental conservation efforts is if you throw out the old yoga mats with the trash.

9. Serve as protective padding on injury-prone surfaces

There are some surfaces around the home that people can easily knock themselves against and sustain injuries. Examples of such surfaces include wooden steps, the foot of furniture, and outdoor decks. You can use the old yoga mat to pad such surfaces so that you don’t get injuries in case you accidentally knock yourself against such surfaces.

If you live on a farm, you can also use them to pad truck beds so that you don’t have to endure bumpy rides when you go for farm supplies. If you live by the lakeside, they can still make for great padding for the floors of the boats.

10. Grip mat for opening tight jars

Every once in a while, we have suffered from sore hands and the frustrations of trying to open tightly-closed jars around the home. If you have an old yoga mat lying around the home, you don’t have to suffer anymore. You can cut your old mat into a square piece that is slightly larger than your hands. You can then keep these pieces in your kitchen drawer and use them to open jars.


11. When out of options, donate your old yoga mats

It is possible that you can run out of ways to put your old yoga mats into other uses around the home. This is however not an excuse for you to throw out the old yoga mat at a time that global warming is a growing concern and we’re trying to achieve a greener environment. If you can’t find creative ways to recycle your mat, you can simply donate it. Animal shelters would certainly find them quite useful. If they are still in good conditions, you can also donate them to a children’s home. In addition to that, there are organizations that recycle old yoga mats. Try to find out if there’s one in your area.

It is guaranteed that at some point you will have to change your yoga mats. Whether you are getting a new mat and won’t have a use for the old one, or the current one is worn out and you need to budget for a new one. Either way, you don’t have to throw away the old yoga mat that you aren’t using. The purpose of yoga is to achieve emotional and physical wellbeing. Throwing away old yoga mats threatens the wellbeing of the environment and defeats the principle of yoga which is well-beingness.


What should you do in case the yoga mats are totally worn out and cannot be recycled?

You should always purchase biodegradable yoga mats so that in the event that they are totally worn out and cannot be recycled, you can dump it into your compost pit so that it can make good manure for your backyard garden. It is not advisable to burn up your old yoga mats no matter how worn out they are. Burning them contributes to environmental pollution. The fumes could also be a health hazard to those around the home.

What types of yoga mats should you buy?

As mentioned earlier, PVC yoga mats are quite difficult to recycle. Reusing them could also be quite harmful to your health as they may release dangerous chemicals which you may inhale. When shopping for a yoga mat, always put into consideration the ability to recycle them at the end of their yoga life. Some manufacturers and retailers also have recycling programs where you can get a discount if you trade in your old mat. Always try to recycle or reuse your old yoga mats.


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