How can I reuse or recycle … a pvc yoga mat?

Yoga mat and ballWe’ve had an email from Paul Smith asking:

I’m really interested in how one would recycle a yoga mat? One of the old school, pvc based ones, not the eco friendly one (which I have now).

If Paul means the type of mat I think he means, they’re a long thin piece of foam, about 6ft long and 2ft wide (185cm by 66cm ish) and about half an inch (1cm) thick. Depending on the requirements and the thickness/flexibility of the foam, they can either be rolled up like a camping bedroll or are left flat (the ones at my uni gym were like that).

So any suggestions for reuses? Or are there any recycling options if somewhere (like a gym) was getting rid of them in bulk?

Paul doesn’t say what condition his yoga mat is in – some of the ones at the uni were bashed to smeg at the sides and going thin where they’d been doubled up – so re-use suggestions for falling apart ones would be good too, just in case.

(Photo by bharat – I couldn’t find a picture without a ball in it too, so just imagine that’s not there :) )

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16 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle … a pvc yoga mat?”

  1. Thomzo says:

    You could cut them up and stick them to the feet of chairs and tables to stop them scuffing laminate flooring.

    Or you could use them to insulate a water cylinder.

    On a large scale you might find allotmenteers would take them. I can see them being used for kneeling on, for excluding light when clearing weeds or for making temporary paths through muddy areas.

  2. Amy says:

    I’m guessing that it would be pretty comfortable (no use in using it when you’re trying to relax on it if it isn’t), so use it for camping when you sleep if you don’t like the feel of the ground.

  3. Rúna Björg says:

    Cut them up into pillow size cussions and take them to your local school. There the kids can either take them on school trips to sit on wet ground or as pillows to sit on when working on the floor in school.

  4. trish says:

    keep it in your garage, use it when you’re working under the car.

  5. Depends on the thickness and texture, but:

    * A floor runner in the kitchen
    * Shower mat
    * Place mats for animal bowls
    * Drawer liners
    * Automotive trunk liner

    • Paul Smith says:

      Wow, thanks everybody for your suggestions! It’s in fairly good shape actually, a few divits (however you spell it) here and there. It’s thinner then 1/2 an inch (those are the really thick ones) so not so useful as a camping mat. But for less long term laying/sitting/activity, it works just fine. Though, being petroleum based, I’d not want people or animals spending extensive time in close contact with it.

  6. Heather says:

    You could try using it under a rug to keep them from slipping & adding a bit of extra cushioning.

    Or use it in the car to protect the apholstery in the trunk from whatever’s rattling around in there.

    Or cut it in thin slices to use as door slugs to help prevent drafts under doors.

  7. ailsa says:

    If kept in the boot of the car it is very useful for various reasons (ie to protect the carpet from muddy boots that are stored after a walk) but could also get you out of some tricky situations. I used one of our camping mats
    (which I am presuming very simliar) for traction when I got my car stuck on a beach. If you can get it under the wheel with some twigs or dry grass you can reverse on it, saves an emergency call-out and alot of embarrasement.

  8. Megan says:

    I mentioned this to my yoga teacher and she said she uses her old ones as a base when she practices outside, so she doesn’t get her good mat dirty. It could also still be useful for extra padding for certain poses (inversions). Or rolled up as a prop (the same way you would use a rolled blanket).

    Thanks for all the great ideas – I need to get a new mat soon so now I won’t need to feel guilty about getting rid of my old one (since I won’t be getting rid of it!). I really like the suggestion of putting it under a regular rug to prevent slippage :) Actually, I could also use it under my aerobic step to prevent if rom slipping on hardwood floors!

  9. RecycleYogi says:


    You can recycle yoga mats via We collect used yoga mats and are in the works to recycle them into other products that will keep them out of the landfill.

  10. mat says:

    Yoga mat recycling is here:-

  11. Gulia says:

    Cover a floor in the attic with it for extra insulation.

  12. Gulia says:

    Use it as door mat.

  13. Gulia says:

    Cut into a proper shape to make car carpets.

  14. Gulia says:

    Use it a a beach blanket.

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