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How to Recycle or Repurpose Your Old Yoga Mat.

How to Recycle or Repurpose Your Old Yoga Mat.

*Photo by Jalynn Baker via HGTV

How to Recycle or Repurpose Your Old Yoga Mat.

So many people are learning about the toxic hazards of typical PVC yoga mats and deciding to invest in a new eco-friendly yoga mat. If so congrats! But what can we do with out old yoga mats?

Most modern yoga mats are manufactured with dyes and flame retardants that make them difficult for recycling plants to process.

So what is the most responsible way to handle your old yoga mat besides just tossing it?  

This is a tricky question so we did some digging to see what is possible.

Here are 3 ways you can recycle or repurpose your old yoga mat responsibly.

#1. Donate Your old Yoga Mat

There are plenty of places that can use your mat for good. Below are ideas of where you could donate your mat. Make sure to thoroughly clean and sanitize your mat before donating.

  • High-need communities
    • homeless shelter
    • substance abuse clinics,
    • orphanages
  • A nonprofit that uses yoga to help people
    • Many volunteer groups there are that teach yoga to prison inmates, children, and trauma survivors. Since yoga encourages peace and positivity, many nonprofits use it as a vehicle to help people heal and grow
    • Yoga Activist works with social programs and government agencies to help at-risk communities learn yoga.
    • Off the Mat Into the World uses yoga outreach programs to promote social justice and equality.
  • Animal Shelter
    • Like homeless shelters, many animal shelters are overcrowded and underfunded. Contact shelters in your area to see if you can drop the mat off. Animal shelters use the yoga mats as bedding for cats, dogs, and other pets. They also use them to transport smaller injured animals as well.[4]
    • Larger shelters that have decent funding, like the Humane Society, do not tend to accept yoga mat donations. Most local shelters will, though.
  • Local yoga studio may be interested in them
  • Many thrift stores will take yoga mats that are in good condition.
  • You can also try selling your mat on a site like Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace.

#2 Upcycle or Repurpose Them in your Home

The non-slip properties of yoga mats make them useful for plenty of other things if you want to get crafty! Check out our Pinterest board for hundreds of ideas! Below are just a few. 

  •  Put them under furniture or rugs to keep them from slipping,
  • Set the mat in your trunk to keep items from sliding around.
  • Cut out shapes, letters, and numbers for kids to play with.
  • Shoe mat
  • Shelf liner
  • Drying rack liner
  • Coaster
  • Coffee sleeve
  • Memo board
  • Place mat for your pets food and water or litter box
  • Bring it camping as a sleeping mat
  • Cut the mat into bases and use them for children’s baseball games 
  • mouse pads,
  • garden kneeling pads,

#3 Check if You Can Recycle your Old Yoga Mat

Option 1.  Recycle Facility

Contact recycling facilities in your area to see if they take yoga mats. Not every recycling facility is capable of recycling PVC, so check first. Likewise, if your mat is made from TPE or another synthetic rubber, it may be recyclable, but you should callto check.

Some recycling facilities will accept your mat to be used as a cushion or recycling pad. It's possible some recycling facilities will actually recycle it by cutting it up and melting it into a new material.

If they do accept it Clean it and take your mat to the recycling facility and pay a small fee to recycle it. Most recycling facilities will charge a $1-10 fee for the yoga mat.

Bring other recyclables with you if you have any. It’s kind of a waste to show up with only one item!

Option 2. Hazardous Materials Center

Some recycling centers for hazardous materials may take your yoga mat as well. These facilities often recycle materials that require individual attention.

Option 3. Terra Cycle 

If you're struggling to find a place to recycle your mat, Kaméa suggests checking out TerraCycle, an innovative company that's made it possible to recycle traditionally non-recyclable goods.

Take note: People with latex allergies will also react to rubber and should not use these mats.  

The best method is of course to do your due diligence before making any purchase so that we support the creation of responsible products. But of course in modern life this is near impossible to always do so if you have an old yoga mat it's nice to know there are ways to reduce your footprint.

If you have any tips or ideas  we would love to hear so leave them below!


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