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What To Do With Your Old Yoga Mats (Hint: It's Not Throwing Them Away!)

How to repurpose old yoga mats blog

So you’re ready to make the switch to a cork yoga mat. But what do you do with the old one? 

Let’s start by agreeing on what not to do.

Don’t throw away your old yoga mat. 

Most yoga mats are made from nonbiodegradable materials, so getting rid of your yoga mat is actually not that simple. PVC - one of the most common plastic polymers used to make yoga mats - takes thousands of years to break down in landfills. By throwing it away, you are contributing to the pollutive waste cycle that wreaks havoc on our lands, seas, and air. 

But even if your yoga mat is made from environmentally conscious materials, don’t look to the bin as your first option. There’s a lot of ways that you can repurpose your yoga mat.

Just because it doesn’t serve your practice any more, doesn’t mean that it can’t serve another purpose. 

Here’s what you can do with your old yoga mat. 

1. Pass Along Your Old Yoga Mat to Someone Else In Your Community

Many people are looking to upgrade their plastic yoga mats to cork because of the superior performance and sustainability. But that doesn’t necessarily mean their current yoga mat is in bad shape. If this sounds like you, here’s what we recommend doing with your old mat: 

Gift Your Yoga Mat

A yoga mat is more than just a fitness accessory. For many, coming to the mat is the first step on their yogic journey. 

Yoga has the power to transform on a physical, mental, and spiritual level. When you give someone a yoga mat, what you’re truly giving them is the opportunity for radical transformation. 

If your yoga mat is still in great condition, consider gifting it to a friend, neighbor, or family member. Offer it to someone who is new to the practice and isn’t ready to invest in their own cork yoga mat. Invite them to come practice with you and create more good vibes together. 

Donate Your Yoga Mat

Yoga is for everyone; not just those who can afford it. 

Donating a mat is a great way to put this principle into action. Just make sure your mat is sanitized before you donate it. 

Here are some ideas for organizations that will appreciate your donation: 

  • The Goodwill or Salvation Army*
  • Recreation Centers or Boys & Girls Clubs in underprivileged areas
  • Retirement Homes
  • Animal Shelters
  • Youth Homeless Shelters and Transitional Living Homes

*Be conscious that these organizations will be reselling your mat. 

Resell Your Mat

Are you eager to invest in a cork yoga mat, but short on financial resources yourself?

Try selling your old yoga mat on a second hand market. Online tools like Facebook Marketplace make it easy to buy and sell within your local community. Just be sure to sell it at a fair price.

2. Repurpose Your Yoga Mat

A yoga mat doesn’t just have to be for yoga. Where else in your life could you use a little more support? 

Use Your Yoga Mat for Camping and Outdoor Fun

Yoga mats are lightweight and easy to travel with, making them perfect for camping. Keep your old yoga mats and use them as mattress pads for camping or music festivals. 

Transform It Into an Ergonomic Floor Mat

Take your yoga mat and place it underneath your kitchen rugs for an instant ergonomic, anti-fatigue mat. Place next to your sink or countertops to reduce pressure on your feet while cooking or doing dishes. Your back will thank you! 

Give Your Work Space More Cushion

For many of us, work means hours spent in front of our laptops all day. Our bodies are not designed to be seated for 8 hours a day, and the modern office lifestyle can come with some unpleasant aches and pains. Line your desk chair with your yoga mat, or place your yoga mat underneath your feet to add extra cushion. 

Pet Bed

Has your cat or dog been trying to claim your yoga mat as their own for some time? Now it can finally be theirs to keep, and (hopefully) they won’t be tempted to conquer your new one. Yoga mats can also be a saving grace for older dogs as they struggle to walk on hardwood or tile floors as they age. If you don’t mind the look of yoga mat lined floors, then you can make your fur baby’s life much more comfortable.

pet yoga mats

Kids’ Rooms

There is no child who couldn’t benefit from a few extra centimeters of padding. From cruising age babies to clumsy toddlers and fort-building tykes, your old yoga mats will surely come in handy. 

Insolation

Fold and stuff your old yoga mats next to attic windows or closet doors to avoid the cold from seeping in during the winter months. This will allow you to spend less energy on keeping your home warm. 

3. Upcycle Your Yoga Mat

In its simplest form, a yoga mat is just a big piece of material. The possibilities of what it can be used for are endless. Here are some of our favorite ideas, but don’t be afraid to get crafty with your own!
  • Insoles for shoes (or if you’re a real wiz with fabric scissors and glue, a pair of sandals)
  • Beverage koozies
  • Liners for drawers, cabinets, and storage units
  • Laptop case
  • Scratch pad for underneath furniture legs or behind door knobs
  • Pin board for office 

upcycle old yoga mat

4. Recycle Your Yoga Mat

If you’ve exhausted all potential uses for your yoga mat, then you can explore the possibility of recycling it. However, due to the varying materials used to make yoga mats, there is no general rule or process for recycling. In fact, not all mats are recyclable.

We recommend calling your local waste or recycling authority and asking them about the best practices for your particular mat. Most likely, they will direct you to a recycling facility where you can drop off your mat. 

Make your Next Yoga Mat a Cork One

Cork yoga mats are made from biodegradable and recyclable materials, making them a sustainable alternative to plastic based mats. 

Gecko Cork Mats are made in Portugal following our Conscious Supply Chain. This ensures that each step of the yoga mats lifecycle - from creating the mat to disposing of it - is infused with intention and sustainability. 

To shop our cork yoga mats & blocks, click here