Guide to Recyclables — Children’s Car Seats

carseatA young child will go through a number of car seats before he/she is old enough to graduate to riding in a car without one.  So what should the conscientious parent to do with a car seat that a child has outgrown?

REUSE Options

With the number of car seats that are purchased annually (almost 12 million) and the number that you need to purchase over your family’s  growing years, that’s a lot of cars seats that can potentially end up in a landfill.  One option for landfill avoidance is to select the REUSE option in the 3Rs and donate/give your car seat(s) that have not expired and or been in an accident to someone that you know.  However, follow the strict guidelines below  to insure that you reuse safely.

Things to know

  • Did you know that car seats have expiration dates?  Each seat is good for approximately six years.   The  reason for this limit?  Plastics used in car seat construction  degrade over time due to the ultraviolet light coming through car windows and  this compromises their safety benefits.  To find the age, check under the seats for the date where most manufacturers post them .
  • Only REUSE car seats that have not been in accidents.   The only way to assure this is to accept a car seat only from someone you know who can attest to the history of the seat.
  • Always check the model and serial number before accepting a used car seat to insure that there has been no recall.

HomeFront
1880 Princeton Ave.
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648
Phone: (609) 989-9417
Donation Hours: M 9 – 5, T 12 – 8, W – F 9 – 5

Car seats are among the items that HomeFront designates as critically needed.  Please follow the recommendations above and only donate those seats that meet them.

Source: HomeFront Donations

Vietnam Veterans of America   call to see

Donations to this non profit organization helps to generate funds to take care of returning soldiers and service men and women.  They provides pickup (usually with 24 hours) for all types of goods including car seats.  You can schedule an online donation pickup for almost anything small and light enough for the driver to carry.  Check out their list of acceptable items.

Source: Vietnam Veterans of America


RECYCLE Options

Recycling options for used car seats are unfortunately limited.  There isn’t a large-scale effort to manage this waste due to the amount of manual labor needed to separate the seats into their component parts.  However, if you perform the separation yourself, you may be able recycle the parts.

The recycling program in Ann Arbor, Michigan offers the following tips for dissembling a car seat.

  1. Cut off the fabric, foam padding, and harness straps from the seat with scissors.
  2. Remove as much metal as possible with a screwdriver.
  3. Remove the car seat cover and the padding underneath it.
  4. Trash the fabric, foam padding, straps, and mixed metal/plastic pieces and small plastic pieces.
  5. Mark the plastic as expired or unsafe.
  6. Recycle the bulky plastic body and all metal pieces.

If you find there is no way to dispose of the seat thru recycling or reusing, cut off the straps and get rid of them separately, so that the seat cannot be used again.

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