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Kids develop so quick. No sooner have dad and mom painstakingly researched and safely put in their toddler’s automotive seat, than it’s time to do it once more for the following measurement up. Most youngsters will use three different types of car seats earlier than they outgrow automotive seats altogether.
That provides as much as a variety of automotive seats. Over 12 million car seats get disposed of every yr within the U.S. But quite than ending up within the landfills, or worse, being incinerated, can automotive seats be recycled? Let’s take a look at the challenges and alternatives for lowering this waste stream.
When To Dispose of Car Seats
There are a number of causes that individuals have to get rid of automotive seats.
- The automotive seat has been recalled for security causes.
- Children have outgrown their automotive seats.
- The automotive seat has expired.
- The automotive seat has been in an accident.
If the automotive seat is not protected, akin to one that’s expired or has been in an accident, recycling it’s the only option.
Obstacles to Recycling Car Seats
The biggest impediment to recycling automotive seats is the dearth of dependable info. Parents simply don’t know the place to go to recycle their undesirable, however nonetheless usable, automotive seats.
Heather Trim, government director of Zero Waste Washington, notes there are different challenges as properly. Most notable is the truth that plastics recycling within the U.S. turned exponentially tougher in 2018. That yr, China banned the import of nearly all plastics to their nation for recycling. Where as soon as there was a powerful marketplace for the uncooked supplies of recyclable plastic, now there have been few choices.
In 2015, Zero Waste Washington launched a program known as Old Car Seat, New Life. The program got down to enhance the speed of automotive seat recycling, partially by making it simpler for folks to search out correct info. They compiled a list of options for folks seeking to recycle their youngsters’s automotive seats. Unfortunately, since China’s ban on imported plastic recyclables, nothing is a assure. Their web site recommends calling forward to any of their listed businesses, as availability modifications. Washington state itself has just one firm that provides periodic recycling occasions for paying prospects.
Trim factors to some lesser-known challenges to protecting automotive seats out of landfills. One is that there isn’t any dependable approach for an untrained individual to find out whether or not a automotive seat has been in an accident. Without that info, automotive seats that might be reused or donated find yourself getting tossed. Another problem is that the materials in automotive seats are sometimes treated with flame retardants, posing well being dangers to employees concerned within the recycling course of. (There is an effort to take away flame retardants because of the well being dangers posed to youngsters.)
Where to Donate Used Car Seats
If a automotive seat hasn’t been recalled, expired, or been in an accident — and continues to be in fine condition, donating it to somebody who can use it’s the only option. Unfortunately, as talked about, not everyone seems to be certified to examine baby automotive seats for security. That’s why many charitable organizations received’t settle for automotive seats. The web site safeconvertiblecarseats.com has an inventory of organizations in all 50 states that settle for used, non-expired automotive seats for donation. The listed organizations embody youngsters’s hospitals, shelters for households in disaster, and businesses supporting foster households.
Car Seat Recycling Options
There are choices for recycling youngsters’s automotive seats. Not all of them are handy, or free, however we’ll attempt to simplify a few of your choices right here.
Start together with your native trash hauler or municipal places of work
Most trash haulers provide recycling providers as a part of their providers. It’s an extended shot, however give them a name and ask in the event that they settle for automotive seats. They could host sporadic recycling occasions or be capable of level you in the best route. Your native board of well being or division of public works could know of locations so that you can convey automotive seats for recycling. There is normally a payment for these choices.
Retail retailer recycling occasions
Some retailers host automotive seat recycling occasions which might be good for the planet, good for folks, and good for his or her companies. The drop-off is free to folks, and the shop could present a rebate for a future buy. The retailers profit from elevated foot site visitors.
Target held a two-week automotive seat recycling occasion in April 2021. Customers (with a Target Circle account) who introduced a automotive seat to recycle acquired 20% off choose child objects. Since 2016, Target has collected a complete of over one million automotive seats for recycling at their occasions. It’s probably they are going to proceed their occasion in 2022.
Walmart partnered with TerraCycle to launch their first Walmart Car Seat Recycling Event in September 2019. They needed to shut the occasion early after receiving over 1 million automotive seats in lower than per week. Parents who introduced a automotive seat for recycling acquired a $30 present card to spend in-store. Walmart has not held a second occasion, more than likely resulting from COVD-19 precautions.
One mail-in possibility is Clek’s car seat recycling program. Clek manufactures automotive seats, and so they have gotten into the enterprise of automotive seat recycling as properly. They settle for any model of automotive seat for recycling for a payment. The charges vary from roughly $35-50 per automotive seat. They do provide 10% off of a future buy of their merchandise. If you’re going to purchase one in all their automotive seats anyway, that low cost can offset the recycling payment.
Clek additionally affords bulk recycling to retailers and for native occasions. According to their web site, they’ve recycled over one-half million automotive seats since they started their packages.
Another mail-in possibility, when you have a Century model automotive seat, is TerraCycle’s Century Baby Gear Recycling Program. Although this program is freed from cost, solely Century model automotive seats are eligible.
Parents Want to Recycle Children’s Products
It’s clear from the turnout at retail recycling occasions that folks are extremely motivated to see their automotive seats recycled as an alternative of going to waste in a landfill. After all, we purchase automotive seats to guard our youngsters. We need to shield the earth for his or her future, too.