By Jill Lawson for DietsInReview.com
It is estimated that more than 15 million people practice yoga. While 15 million seems like a relatively small number compared to the quantity of people who drive cars, throw away plastic water bottles, or dump toxic chemicals down the drain, the image of 15 million yoga mats potentially lying at the bottom of a landfill is still very alarming. As Earth Day approaches, thoughts like this will hopefully spark a desire in all of us to take better care of our planet.
Some environmentalists have determined that it takes an estimated 700 years for plastic and other similar ingredients to decompose, let alone rid of the earth-damaging toxic off gassing during the breakdown process. Although certain brands of yoga mats, as of late, are made with eco-friendly and non-toxic materials, there are still companies out there who disregard the environment in lieu of making a cheap vinyl mat that sells for pennies at the local big-box discount store.
When these yoga mats wear out, or the people who bought them retire their interest in practicing yoga, the mats will more than likely get thrown out. We may gather our aluminum cans, newspaper and glass bottles and bring them to the nearby recycle bin, but what about all of the not-so-obvious incidentals? In order to prevent further clogging of your already toxic waste dump, donít throw out your yoga mat; recycle or reuse it.
In an effort to reduce waste, yoga studios such as Core Power Yoga, and certain yoga mat companies such as Manduka, have teamed up with a program called Recycle Your Mat, in an effort to encourage the “upcycling” of unwanted yoga mats.
To sweeten the pot, Manduka offers a 20 percent discount off of a new mat to those who send in their old mats. Although this sounds like the all too familiar American way of modern consumerism (throw it out and buy another one), Manduka yoga mats are a non-toxic and environmentally friendly choice.
If you are interested in reusing or upcycling your old yoga mat, the following is a list of nifty ideas that will give your old mat new purpose.
Weed Killer – Lay your mat over a portion of your garden in early spring and smother unwanted weeds in a matter of days.
Beach Blanket - After playing in the ocean, practice savasana on the beach.
Outside Doormat – Roll out your yoga mat in front of your tent or camper door and have a luxurious place to take off your shoes.
Non Skid Rug Pad – Cut a sized-to-fit piece of your yoga mat and put it under a slippery rug.
Household Fixes – And for more clever ideas, try using an old mat as shoe inserts, toolbox liners, gripping jar openers, mouse pads, or dog beds.
Do you have your own crafty ideas? Please share them with us!