Yucky Yoga Mat? Wash It, Or Recycle It

Blue Yoga Mats photo

While the numbers are not official, it's estimated that about 20 million people practice yoga - and that adds up to lots of well-loved, grimy and sweaty yoga mats.

Luckily, mats can last for years and they can be washed. According to Yoga Journal, just a wipe down with "four drops of dish soap" then clean water and a terry cloth towel-dry are all that's needed, or machine washing in a front-loader. (Tip: Too much soap residue in either case can make a mat slippery, so go easy on the soap.)

Greener yoga mats
Generally, those ubiquitous purple mats are made out of PVC, but there are other greener material choices, including jute, natural rubber, and wood pulp.

Once a mat reached the point of no more Down Dog, however, there was no organized way to keep it out of the landfill. Until Stephanie Stano thought up and recently founded Recycle Your Mat in Eugene, Oregon. Yoga mat reecycling's first step: collection
Users anywhere can either mail their mats to her, or in Oregon find one of the handful of studios that have agreed to set up collection bins. Mostly through word of mouth, Stano has collected about 100 old mats. But she's working on setting up a network of yoga centers and studios for mat collection.

Of course, collection doesn't yet mean recycling or even downcycling. At this point Stano is simply warehousing the mat material. However, she is working hard on getting a group of manufacturers willing to cut or crumble up the mats and re-make them into new mats or other yoga gear or downcycle them into something else usable (though that PVC could be an issue). Stano is determined to find a suitable "repurposing." Rehabilitated mats will also be donated to organizations that want them. Thanks to tipster Celeste LeCompte. Via ::Recycle Your Mat

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