Give your old yoga mat a new life with these ideas to reuse, repurpose or recycle.
In Australia alone, with the rise in popularity of yoga, nearly two million people are now practicing! This is amazing that we are realising the benefits yoga can bring to our lives and with yoga becoming more accessible, everyday more people are turning to the practice.
With the rise in people practicing, there is also a rise in the amount of yoga mats purchased. A recent study found that if each of the two million people that are practicing yoga currently use only five yoga mats in their life that are not eco-friendly, are able to be re-purposed or reused, then there is the potential of ten million yoga mats ending up in landfill!
That is a staggering amount of yoga mats potentially ending up in landfill and I’m sure doesn’t sit well with eco-conscious yogis trying to lighten their footprint and negative impact on the planet.
One thing yoga teaches us is Ahimsa – non harming to all, including yourself, in actions, thoughts, feelings, behaviours, habits, beliefs and words. Ahimsa also extends to our environment and the world around us. One of the simplest ways we can be less harmful to our environment is to have motives and actions that utilise as little of our planets resources as possible and for the resources that we have already taken, to find ways to reuse, repurpose or recycle.
I still have every yoga mat I ever owned, not because I use them all, but because I cannot bare to throw them away. It can be good to have spare yoga mats on hand for friends to borrow, to use outside, to take on holidays or to use at the beach, the question of what to do with a yoga mat that you no longer need remains. I have put this list together to help me, and hopefully you, with inspiration for what to do with your unneeded yoga mats.
What do I do with my yoga mat/s I no longer want or need?
The following three categories will hopefully help you decide what is the least harmful choice or option for all involved when deciding what to do with your yoga mat.
Reuse – Repurpose – Recycle.
In our modern world we are bombarded with choice and new options what seems like every minute. We can get caught up in the want of things without considering if we actually need them.
Before you throw away your yoga mat or simply go and buy the newest, best advertised one of the current market, ask yourself do you really need a new one, or do you just want one?
If you just want a new one because you want a different colour, print or want the one that is popular or promoted on Instagram, take another look at the one you already have.
Does it still function in the way it was intended to? If yes, maybe it just needs a good wash? Contact the supplier that you purchased your yoga mat from and check their care instructions to see if it is possible to wash your yoga mat, either with our yoga mat cleaner suggestion or in a heavy duty washing machine.
If your old yoga mat no longer serves it purpose for you, but is still in good condition, consider donating your mat to one of the following:
- Local school
- Lots of schools are adding yoga and meditation to their classes now which is amazing! Donating your no longer needed mat to a local school could help make yoga even more accessible to our young people.
- Local yoga studio
- Maybe there is a new studio starting out in your area that are low on mats
- For people to use that forgot their mat
- Community classes
- Gymnastics club or Sports Club
- To use as padding, grip, shock absorbing when landing, outside exercises or warm ups
- Womens shelter
- Everyone deserves the access to yoga so donating your mat here might help a women with minimal personal belongs keep up or start her yoga practice
- Retirement homes
- Yoga is being more and more recognised for its health benefits and more retirement homes are offering yoga classes.
If reusing your yoga mat for yoga is no longer suitable, maybe the following repurposing options will be
- Homeless shelter
- To use as padding under bedding
- Animal shelter
- To give comfort and padding in rescue animals beds and crates. Yoga mats are perfect as they are easy to clean, durable and most are waterproof.
- In your car
- Leave in the boot to stop your shopping sliding around
- Protect back seats from your pets feet or baby seats
- Use as a picnic mat or when you need something waterproof and durable to sit on
- Cut to size and put on the floor of your car to protect the floor from muddy shoes, dropped food.
- Put under your bedding for extra comfort
- Use as a door mat to your tent to keep inside clean
- Use as padding for your knees when gardening
- Smother weeds by placing mat over garden area. The suns heat through the mat will kill weeds and prevent their seeds from sprouting. When you are ready to plant in that area, remove the mat.
- Use as a liner under pots inside the house to protect floors
- Use under their bedding for extra comfort and padding
- Stop food and water bowls sliding buy cutting mat to size and putting under the bowl. The grip from the mat will keep bowls in place
- Use mat as padding to protect furniture when moving house, or transporting it
- Stop beds sliding or furniture legs damaging floor by cutting yoga mat to size and sticking to bottom of feet
- Lay down yoga mat to protect flooring from kids craft projects
- Use as an outdoor mat to clean shoes on before entering your home
- Use in wet areas where floor might be slippery
- Paint with non-toxic paint and use as a floor running in kitchen or entry way to home
- Use in home office for extra padding for feet while seated at the computer
- Use on the roof of your car when carrying surfboards to prevent scratching the paint or padding between boards
- Protect boards when not in use by placing underneath tail of board when stored in board rack
- Pack around surfboard when extra padding is needed in board bag on surfing trips
- Tool box/Trailer
- Use in tool box or trailer to protect tools and prevent them moving around
The last option we have on this list is to recycle your yoga mat. Recycling your yoga mat that is no longer needed is a great option.
Everything that exists comes from our Earth and if something can be reused, repurposed or recycled then we are lessening our impact on the Earth and our need to take more from our environment.
Like many things though, not knowing how or where to recycle causes many missed opportunities to lessen our impact on our Earth. If things are not recycled properly, even recyclable products, like glass for example, they end up in land fill and back we go to take from our environment to make more.
There are some amazing companies (and I am sure many more) who are dedicated to the recycling of yoga mats that are no longer needed.
Salt and Seed Yoga is in the process of developing a program to collect and receive yoga mats, from any brand and any material, that you no longer need and reuse, repurpose or recycle them accordingly. We are dedicated to lessening our footprint on the planet and are passionate about helping others do the same. Until our program is up and running, here are some amazing companies that are doing brilliant things for the environment with programs and options for you to re-home your old yoga mat.
- Recycle Your Yoga Mat is a program by Mukti Mats that you can send you no longer needed yoga mat to in NSW Australia and they will forward your yoga mat onto a charity that supports our community.
- LovEarth has a great Donation Program Australia wide where you can send or take your yoga mat into one of their stores and they will forward it onto the correct recycling program.
- Yoga Australia head office in Victoria has a Recycling Initiative that recycles your no longer needed yoga mats and props. Drop your yoga mat into their office to help lessen the ecological footprint of yoga in Australia.
- Jade yoga has a 3R Program that reuses and recycles yoga mats in America. You can drop your mat into a number of studios and be confident that your yoga mat will be reused or recycled and not end up in landfill.
- Currently only available in the US, but Manduka is working to bring this great program to yogis worldwide. The LiveOn program gives yogis the option at the checkout when purchasing a new yoga mat to send back their no longer needed yoga mat of any brand to be recycled into materials that improve communities everywhere.
These are just some reusing, repurposing and recycling options that I thought you might find helpful.
If you know of any other great options, programs or companies, please comment below and I can update the list so it keeps growing with amazing options to lessen our impact on our Earth.