Update (Oct. 21, 2022):
Scientists are finding new ways to make recycling even easier – check out the research here.
Is your mat starting to wear down, feel uneven and slippery? If so, you might have to replace it soon.
But before you toss out your old yoga mat, you’ve probably asked yourself, “can it be recycled?” To answer your question – yes, you can recycle certain yoga mats.
- Whether or not you can recycle a yoga mat highly depends on the material it is made of. Certain yoga mats are perfectly fit for recycling.
- Some are even biodegradable, so you can just throw them out without any worries. But other mats, such as PVC yoga mats, can’t be recycled.
- Today, we’ll help you determine whether or not you can recycle yoga mats – let’s get right into it.
What Are PVC Yoga Mats?
PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. It’s a plastic polymer and is probably one of the worst plastics ever made.
- As of today, there are still no safe ways to recycle and dispose of PVCs.
- And yet tons of PVC mats are still being produced.
- Why? It’s cheaper and easier to manufacture than other yoga mat materials.
During the manufacturing process of PVC, toxic chemicals add to greenhouse gas emissions. These toxic chemicals can also leak from your mat during practice. You can end up inhaling and absorbing these through your skin.
As you can imagine, this is not something you want (and it’s bad for the environment too).
If you thought the problems ended there, they don’t—there are tons of reasons why PVC shouldn’t be used in general.
- One of the main reasons being it takes them decades to break down in landfills.
- As they degrade, they slowly leak out toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds that are absorbed by the soil.
- PVC yoga mats are technically recyclable, but these toxic chemicals make them very unsafe raw materials.
- They aren’t the only unsafe yoga mat materials. Learn more about other toxic yoga mats in our blog.
If you own a PVC yoga mat or other toxic yoga mats, don’t throw them out, the best thing for you to do is to repurpose them.
What’s the Difference Between Recycling and Repurposing?
People often use the terms recycling and repurposing interchangeably because they serve the same purpose. Both are ways to help lessen our carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions. But, they are done in very different ways.
- To recycle means to turn something into a raw material, which is then used to build an entirely new item.
- Recycling is a much more complex process and requires tons of labor and energy.
- You can’t recycle yoga mats yourself. You need to donate your old mats to yoga mat recycling programs that have factories equipped for the task.
Repurposing means you’re using the item as is but for an entirely different purpose than what it was originally made for. When you repurpose a yoga mat, you can no longer use it for your yoga practice.
Instead, you use it as a mouse pad, for example.
You can easily find ways to repurpose your old yoga mats at home. We’ll even list a few ideas at the end of the article, so keep reading.
Which Yoga Mats Can You Recycle?
Any yoga mat made from natural material is biodegradable and can be recycled. Examples of yoga mats made from recyclable materials are cork, cotton, jute, and natural rubber yoga mats.
As long as these mats have no added synthetic material, they can be recycled easily.
- One exception when it comes to synthetic yoga mat materials is TPE.
- TPE yoga mats are made from a non-toxic, PVC-free, synthetic material called thermoplastic elastomer.
- Because they are non-toxic they are easier to recycle.
- Although it still takes them 3 to 5 years to degrade, this is better than PVC yoga mats that take decades.
If you’re looking to replace your old yoga mat, we highly suggest you make the switch to recyclable yoga mats. They might be more expensive, but when it comes to the sustainability of our planet, the price of eco-friendly yoga mats is reasonable.
How To Reuse and Repurpose Your Yoga Mats
If you have a PVC mat that you can’t recycle or throw away, don’t worry. Here are some ways you can reuse PVC mats:
Bring On A Camping Trip
When you go on a camping trip, old yoga mats can definitely come in handy. There are so many ways to use a yoga mat when camping.
For example, you can lay your yoga mat under your sleeping bag to provide some padding on the tough ground. Or, you can use it as your “on the road yoga mat” as you keep up your practice in the forest, on the beach, or anywhere you camping trip takes you!
Gift To Your Pets or Animal Shelters
Humans aren’t the only ones who can use yoga mats. Our fur babies will surely love them too.
You can gift your old mats to your pets or donate them to animal shelters so that they have more places to sleep on. You can also cut them up and use them to line your pet carriers. Or you could even use them as placemats under your pet’s bowl.
Child-Proof Your Home
Kids love to run around, and they will occasionally run into furniture. To prevent your kids from having injuries, you can cut up your old yoga mat and use the pieces to cover sharp edges. You can child-proof your cabinets, drawers, tables, and shelves. You can also use yoga mats as child-safe flooring by laying them around the playroom.
Protect Your Knees
If you have weak knees it can be difficult and painful to kneel on the ground. But when it comes to chores or gardening, you can’t always avoid kneeling. To give your knees some extra protection while you’re doing chores, use your old yoga mat as a kneeling pad.
Lend To A Newbie
If your yoga mat is still in relatively good shape, you can lend it to someone who wants to try out yoga. Yoga isn’t always for everyone, and if your friend realizes that yoga isn’t for them, at least they didn’t have to waste money buying their very own mat..
Use As Shelf Liners
Your old mat might not be sticky enough for a good yoga session. But it might still have enough traction to hold your items in place. Use your old mat as a shelf liner by measuring your shelves and kitchen drawers and cutting your yoga mat up accordingly. You can also use it for flowerpots and vases to keep them firmly placed on the table and to avoid water leakage.
Outdoor Seating & Picnics
Use your old yoga mats for comfortable outdoor seating. You can bring your yoga mats with you when you go to the beach or have picnics on the grass, for example.
As you can see – there are all sorts of ways you can repurpose old yoga mats to get more out of them and prevent them from ending up in a landfill.
Switch To Recyclable and Biodegradable Yoga Mats From Pureful Yoga
If you’re an eco-conscious yogi looking to make the switch to an eco-friendly yoga mat, look no further than some of our yoga gear.
Organic yoga mats and some alignment yoga mats are made from all-naturals materials sourced from nature – and many of them are a completely renewable and sustainable.
And we haven’t even gotten to the best part: many recyclable mats are naturally anti-slip and anti-microbial. So no matter how sweaty you get during practice, you still won’t have trouble balancing and they tend to resist odor.
Get your very own Pureful Yoga essentials today, and match it with an eco-friendly yoga block and yoga mat carrier bag!