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How to Recycle Yoga Mats

How to Recycle Yoga Mats

If your much loved soft Yoga Mat is looking a bit tatty and you are looking for an upgrade, please don't toss it in the bin.

If it is one of the older mats, it is likely to be made of PVC, which I hate to tell you is bloody awful as is difficult to recycle from home.This is because both the chlorine content and the various chemical additives used to make the material flexible, increase material stability and usage properties simply require a commercial level recycler to deal with. 

What are most yoga mats made of?

Ironically, many Yoga Mats are are still made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, one of the more toxic plastics. When buying, make sure you check exactly what you are getting so that you don't have your downward dog nose in a mat of toxic chemicals. PVC is also not biodegradable so it will be saluting the universe in landfill long after you and your yoga days have passed. Some mats are made from Thermoplastic elastomer, TPE, which is a more environmentally friendly than PVC. It still has the issue of not breaking down.

Further, PVC 3 plastic contains di-2-ehtylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) which is an endocrine disruptor and a know carcinogen. (So, you, like me, are probably thinking that it's a bit of an odd material to make a yoga mat out of!)

Your next mat

When purchasing a mat, check to make sure it's not mixture of natural products and PVC. There are now plenty of rubber and jute alternative yoga mat options sold by vendors across Australia. Many of these are machine washable and at the very least are readily wiped down. Think about your office as well as your home when you are considering re-use options for  your old mat.


There are many many uses for a soft old yoga mat. Any place around your house that needs any kind of soft padding is a potential use for a reinvented piece of mat. Under lounge chair legs or cupboard legs on the floor, under any plate, bowl or container that you don't want to slip. If you are a camper, store it with your camping equipment for under your sleeping bag.


Alternatively you can recycle your mat through one of the many Yoga Studios like ours, LovEarth Yoga Goods who will either trade your mat or simply take your old one and donate it to studios in need, shelters or aid groups.

Image: LovEarth Yoga Mats
Something incorrect here? Suggest an update below:
Taylor Ryan
Sustainability Blogger

I actually forgot to mention (i think?), that the yoga mat suggestions are from the LovEarth website - i didn’t come up with the ideas all on my own! Although i do wish i was that clever! Thursday, 20 July 2017

Jennifer Nielsen

You are so right Taylor. We are working on the detail - and as you rightly say, we need heaps and heaps more pages. Some of these will come from our upcyclers and others from bloggers and staff here.

And thanks for the reminder re LovEarth. They were actually the reason we started writing about Yoga Mats in the first place so it is remiss of us not to have them on the page. (Fixed now!) They are on as a Recycler already and even have a Shop. They are the only Yoga Mat recycler we are aware of at the moment. Thursday, 20 July 2017

Taylor Ryan
Sustainability Blogger

Love love love this website! Would love to see more detail in the sections for the people that don't think about searching for their repurposing/recycling options. Some more options for the yoga mats are: Stick it over your back seat in the car- great for kids or pets Stops slipping on the workbench while using power tools Line kitchen shelves to prevent glasses from slipping and scratching Kneeling pads for the garden or while cleaning Use as kitchen drawer liners Cut it up to make a mouse pad Use as grip pads to open jar if your wrists are weak Cut to size and use as foot pads for the bottom of furniture Place it under your sleeping bag as a sleeping pad while camping Cover over sharp corners to avoid injury Surround and protect your valuables while moving or shipping Get creative and make children’s toys, create masks, hats, costumes etc Cut into shapes and letters for tub and pool toys Liners under house plants Donate to nursing homes so that residents do not slip while getting in and out of bed Place between your surfboard & car to protect both from abrasion Lay it over the dashboard and steering wheel to keep the sun out! Place under an area rug for no-slip gripping Christmas Tree ornaments… Snowflakes are great Dog & cat dishes stay put. Cut to size required Cut out shapes, letters and numbers for kids Kid’s Play area… makes an excellent surface to be messy on Line kitchen shelves for sticky surface Smother weeds in your garden then remove and plant out Put on the walls of the garage so that the car door s are protected Shred and use under swings and monkey bars to cushion the drop Foot pads for the bottom of furniture that is on a wood or ceramic floor Cut into pieces for holding artificial flowers in vases Place it under your sleeping bag for extra padding Put it in your baby or your great granny’s bath to stop them slipping Cut into strips and use for drainage in flower pots Use as a door mat when camping Put in your pet’s transport box to stop slipping Step treads for stairs Cut rounds or squares for coasters… maybe glue on laminated pictures! Put at your front door for muddy shoes Sound proofing in music studios or on the back of a piano Here are some more options of where yoga mats can be sent to, incase you don't have it on your list: As for the more sustainable materials used for yoga mats these days - Cork Leaf is an Australian company making natural and recycled cork and natural tree rubber mats. And then there's the various jute and natural rubber options which you've already mentioned. Again - love your work. This sort of website is filling a void in the online directory/resources. I've had to create an extensive bookmarking/folder system to keep track of all the options for recycling and organisations/companies doing the good stuff. Thanks for the effort! Thursday, 20 July 2017