Why Recycle Car Seats?
Car seats don’t have a long life span. If they have been involved in a vehicle crash or are more than 6 years old, they are unsafe and should not be used.
Children outgrow things quickly, and car seats are no exception. They are typically bought new (roughly 9 million to 12 million car seats are purchased in the United States each year) and need to be upgraded several times as your child grows. That’s a lot of waste.
A car seat can be passed on to someone else only if it has never been in an accident and has not expired. Most manufacturers list an expiration date on the seat; if you can’t find one, 6 years is often considered the limit.
The materials degrade over time — especially from the intense ultraviolet light coming through car windows — and this compromises their safety benefits.
Car Seat Recycling Information
“Car seats can be recyclable. But it’s a labor of love,” says Kimberly Christensen, Program Manager with Old Car Seat, New Life. She should know: She estimates she has taken apart nearly 150 car seats to see how possible it is to separate the metal, synthetic fabric, plastic, foam, and other components into recyclable materials.
“The difficult part is that they’re being manufactured to not fall apart, since you want the child as safe as possible,” she says. “Newer car seats often include steel inserts attached to the plastic via hard-to-remove rivets that make the seats safer and extend their usable lifespan.”
Lyon County has partnered with Advance Opportunities of Marshall to employ adults with disabilities to disassemble car seats. Check with your local recycling professional to ask about car seat recycling.