If your dreams of becoming a yoga master didn’t quite work out as planned, chances are you have an old mat or two kicking around the house. Give it a good scrub – you want to be sure to get rid of that old sweat smell – and try repurposing it in any of the following ways.
1. Make a colourful bulletin board.
2. Cut out easy-to-wipe placemats or coasters.3. Cut out floor protector pads and glue onto furniture legs.
4. Use a small piece as a jar opener/gripper.
5. Line drawers and kitchen cupboards to prevent slipping.
6. Make a homemade laptop case. Cut to the right size and glue with a hot glue gun.
7. Cut out knee pads or a mat to make gardening more comfortable.
8. Turn it into a non-slip mat in the back seat of the car for pets, or in the trunk for groceries.
9. Use as a floor runner beneath carpets to prevent slipping.
10. Use as an extra sleeping mat or in place of an air mattress when camping.
11. Place in front of your tent as a makeshift doormat and a place to put on shoes.
12. Make a mouse pad.
13. Cut into the shape of a seat cushion to add extra padding to chairs.
14. Smother weeds in the garden with it before planting seeds (same as using newspaper).
15. Use as portable seating at sporting events and picnics. Use in place of a towel at the beach.
16. Use strips of yoga mat as makeshift insulation around draughty windows and doors.
17. Cut out shapes, letters, and numbers for kids to play with. Bath and pool toys, masks, costumes, props – the sky’s the limit.
18. Donate to an animal shelter or rescue facility. Old mats can be used to line crates.
19. Use for packing and shipping fragile items. No more peanuts!
20. Lay across dashboard to keep the sun out of your car.
21. Cut out a sleeve for a hot or cold drink.
Unfortunately, yoga mat recycling programs are virtually non-existent. Recycle Your Mat has ceased its work and Manduka no longer offers Mat Recycling kits. Lulu Lemon has no standardized yoga mat recycling program, but says it is currently working with a Vancouver company, debrand, to find "new homes for scuffed, scratched, and sun-damaged yoga mats." One good option is to visit JadeYoga.com to learn about its 3R program, which donates old mats for reuse in schools, shelters, and prisons.
The greenest option of all is to make do with what you've got and resist the urge to upgrade your yoga mat until absolutely necessary. When you do, choose an eco-friendly option that's free from PVC, Microban, and PER. This might mean getting away from the traditional squishy-feeling yoga mat, but there's nothing wrong with natural rubber and hemp or jute mats.