When it comes to the environmental impact of yoga mats, it’s not just your choice of a new mat that matters. Landfills are teeming with toxic yoga mats made from PVC, synthetic rubber, and other materials that leach chemicals into the soil and water supply. Over the years, I’ve repurposed many a yoga mat. These things come in damn handy in places you’d never imagine! So, if you’re struggling to think of what to do with your old mat, rather than just send it to landfill, here are 12 ways to upcycle your yoga mat. If you’re looking to replace your old yoga mat with a new one, check out our recommendations for the best eco-friendly yoga mats.
As with every household product, before you even consider sending an old mat to landfill, think about ways to repurpose, upcycle, or recycle the mat.
You could donate your mat to a nearby retirement home as a non-slip surface for seniors, or to an animal shelter (where they always need such things to keep animals comfortable). Here are twelve top ideas for reusing your old mat at home:
- Repurpose your mat as a non-slip surface or padding for furniture, rugs, in the workshop, for next to the bed, in the bathroom, for play areas or for senior household members (human and non-human)
- Turn your mat into a seat liner for transporting muddy, hairy pups (or other potentially messy passengers) in the car
- Keep dog and cat food dishes or litter boxes in place and (relatively) tidy
- Line kitchen shelves or drawers to prevent scratching
- Make grip pads for easier jar opening
- Make knee protectors for gardening or custom-fit liners under house plants
- Take your mat to the beach or park for picnics, or as an extra sleeping layer when camping (mats also help keep things from rolling around in the trunk of your car)
- Cut up the mat to make bases for park or yard games, or as masks or props for dress-up time
- Cushion sharp corners in the house or garage
- Protect valuables when moving house
- Cut into squares for instant seat cushions at sports games or open-air theatre
- Use as cushioning between your roof rack and sports equipment (surfboard, canoes, kayak, etc.).
It’s important to note that the term ‘biodegradable’ is not regulated in the U.S., so instead of being a sign of eco-friendliness, it can simply mean that a material will degrade (eventually) into some other harmful chemicals when exposed to air and light. Organic cotton, jute, natural rubber, and other natural plant-based materials are the best options for truly biodegradable, eco-friendly mats.