Let’s face it, even if your favorite yoga mat is bulletproof and will never ever wear out, there’s still a decent chance that you have a collection of yoga mats laying around the house, most likely never to be used for their intended purpose ever again.  Eventually, one day you may decide to tidy up the place and gaze in astonishment at all your mats. First, you’ll wonder where the heck they all came from.  And second, you’ll wonder what the heck to do with them since you really don’t need old, worn-out mats filling up the corners of every room in your house, do you?

Well, it certainly looks yogic to have a mat in every corner, but then you think to yourself there must be something practical I could do with all these extra pieces of large, spongy, colorful, plastic rectangles.   The simple answer:

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

After a little personal introspection and Internet research, I compiled this list of 43 creative ways to reuse, recycle, and extend your old yoga mats’ non-yoga related usefulness.  Sound fun?  Get your scissors ready.  Off you go:

My Personal Top 10 Reuse/Recycle Options:

  1. Turn your mat into a bleacher cushion.  Great for those hard bleachers when watching sporting events.  Here’s how:  Step 1) Cut the mat into equal pieces to make one top and bottom (the size of a newspaper laid flat); Step 2) Punch holes about every 2 inches with a paper hole punch all the way around (both top and bottom); Step 3) Take a couple of days worth of newspapers and lay them between the top and bottom (or if you have another old mat to sacrifice, chop it up and use it as the cushioning); Step 4) Use yarn, ribbon, rawhide, etc. to lace the holes and tie off.  Oh yeah, pretty sweet, huh?  To re-stuff, untie and add new newspaper.  Easy to store, lightweight, washable, reusable, and comfortable
  2. Leave the beach towel home and bring your old yoga mat to the beach instead (caution! may induce spontaneous yoga poses on the beach 🙂
  3. Save your floors and roll out the old mats for the kids to do messy craft projects on
  4. Along the same lines as number 1, fold mat in four, place in a pillow cover, and you have a cheap and comfy meditation cushion
  5. Donate your old mat to a mat recycling program such as Recycle Your Mat, an eco-conscious organization whose goal is to re-purpose or recycle the world’s unwanted yoga mats.  Apparently Manduka offers 20% discount on your next mat purchase if you go this route!  Jade Yoga also offers a 3R Program where yoga students can drop off their used up and unwanted mats to participating studios who, with Jade’s help will find local resources to reuse or donate the mats.  I’m sure there’s more recycling programs like these, so feel free to comment if you know of other programs that deserve a mention
  6. Enjoy yoga in the wild! Use old mats as a “Guerrilla Yoga” mat alternative (okay, I just mean plain old outside yoga, but Guerrilla Yoga sounds so much more primitive).  Most, if not all, “eco” mats are susceptible to damage by the elements and using them for outside practice is not the best idea.   Now you don’t have to jack up your good mat doing it
  7. How could the computer geek inside me resist a nice, thick, cushiony yoga mouse pad for surfing the Internet
  8. I really hate rattling stereo speakers.  Place cut out yoga mat squares under those noisy stereo speakers to reduce vibration rattle
  9. Do you absolutely love the feel of yoga mat on your feet?  Why not cut out yoga mat insoles for all your shoes.  Now you’re a true yogi!  Oh, wait, no your not unless you’ve tried number 10…
  10. True yogis don’t wear shoes, right?  Why not make a pair of flip-flops out of your yoga mat?!?  Click the link and/or watch the video below for everything you need to know.  You’re going to need these for going to the beach (see #2 above)

Click through the jump to see the rest of the list…

33 More Creative Reuse/Recycle Solutions

  1. Place small squares under furniture legs to protect wooden floors (glue on with non-toxic adhesive)
  2. Cut squares for nonskid pads to cushion hallway carpet runners
  3. Use for a cushy lining and fabric anchor on baby’s changing table
  4. Most mats are waterproof and serve well beneath leaky flowerpots
  5. Double up old mats as sleeping bag pads for camping (you might even end up sneaking in a little yoga in the woods)
  6. Roll out old mats as floor coverings during painting projects
  7. Fold up and use as a prop or knee padding with your new mat
  8. Use mat as extra bedding for pets
  9. Give your yoga mat a new life as a weed cloth cover
  10. Cut your pad into smaller pieces, tape them together with duct tape and you’ll have a fabulous knee pad for gardening
  11. Donate to homeless shelters as sleeping pads
  12. Protect the leather in the back seat of your car from sharp, scratchy objects by rolling an old mat out on the seat
  13. Cut to size and line your kitchen shelves with a non-slip surface
  14. Cut out four squares to use as bases for a neighborhood baseball game
  15. Clean up your old mat and cut out drawer and shelf liners for your closet
  16. Use as padding around kid’s playground equipment, cushions slide landings
  17. If you have lots of old mats, chop them into small pieces and donate to a neighborhood playground for ground cover
  18. Cut out palm-sized jar grippers
  19. Sit just about anywhere you want (wet grass, mud puddle, pile of rocks, etc) with a cushy mat padding
  20. Place underneath children’s car seats
  21. Cut into small pieces and use as packing material for fragile items
  22. Use as a door mat when camping to keep your tent clean
  23. Place inside pet carriers for padding and footing
  24. Create safe and colorful step treads for stairs. Cut your mat into rectangles slightly smaller than the size of your stairs — glue on for a permanent solution or let the mat’s inherent stickiness hold it in place if you prefer easy removal
  25. Roll out onto the pavement for comfortable do-it-yourself car repairs
  26. Cut out circle or square party coasters
  27. Fit open laundry room space with mat area for muddy shoes
  28. Going on a long trip?  Place on top of car for protection when luggage exceeds interior car space
  29. Use as insulation: stuff into small spaces around doors, windows, etc.
  30. Make insulated beverage sleeves
  31. Shower mat
  32. Use as a place mat for animal bowls
  33. Place in trunk of car as a liner to keep upholstery clean and/or prevent things from sliding around

The list could go on!  Just remember, the re-purposing uses of a yoga mat are only limited by your needs and imagination.

Feel free to share in the comments any other creative ways you can think of for reusing or recycling old yoga mats.  I’d love for this list to be HUGE!

[Inspiration for some of the ideas:  lots from Gaiam Life, Bamboo Yogini, wikiHow, Yoga Maendy, RecycleThis, Eco Yogini, my own head]



Manduka Yoga Gear

22 comments

    1. This was a fun post to write, but it did take a good deal of time. I scoured the Internet for a lot of the ideas and then tweaked them so that they really made sense to me. I also tried to think up ideas during my morning runs the last couple of days. Of course I haven’t used all the ideas since there are so many possible ways to re-purpose a yoga mat.

        1. I wish I was nearly that smart and creative. How could life get any better than yoga mat insoles? 😉 I may have reached maximum creative capacity with that little nugget.

  1. LOL at you and Bob, thanks for the tips. I was only just looking at my bunch of yoga mats the other day when cleaning the house and thinking what to do with them. I tend to stick to one mat until it wears out and then retire it with the others. Although, my Jade mat is not looking like it’s retiring any time soon. Flip flops hey? 🙂

  2. These are excellent ideas! I may use mine for a pet mat. I also love the bleecher mat idea. Thank you so much for the yoga mat ideas. I’ll let my friends know of your handy blog.

    My favorite type of yoga is Bikra. Have you tried it yet? Awesome!

  3. Great ideas! On Dec. 14, Living Beyond Breast Cancer will host a free yoga program at the Philadelphia Marriott West. The program will focus on the emotional benefits of yoga & provide a hands-on demonstration. Would you be willing to feature this event in a future blog entry? You can find more info here: http://www.lbbc.org/content/event/yoga-uniting-body-mind-spirit.asp?c=educational&t=participate&sn=networking

    It’s also a great way to support women affected by breast cancer!

  4. Hello fellow yogis! I absolutely love!!! this posting. Such a great idea for old, worn out, mats. I’ll definitely be passing this along and posting a link on our website.

    I’d like to take the opportunity to inform you of a great yoga retreat in Thailand It’s on the island of Phuket and the scenery is amazing. So, if you want to escape the cold and take a holiday in the “Land of Smiles” then check out Yoga Thailand

    Once again, keep up the good work!

  5. Hey there,
    Great article!! I go through a lot of mats, teaching full time, so this is a helpful way to think about them. I usually donate my old mat to a needy place (more studios are hosting mat-drives for donation purposes), but I have used a few old mats for creative purposes (underneath plants).

    I’m linking you to my blog site – will you do the same for me? Thanks!

    Also, please check out my online yoga program, The Yoga Odyssey, at http://www.fivepointsyoga.com/odyssey/ Let me know if you want to participate or blog about it.

    Be well,

    Barrett

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