But why recycle car seats in the first place? Two main considerations are at work in this situation:
- Car Seats Expire – Yes, car seats have expiration dates. Due to their exposure to extreme conditions (like heat and sun), the plastic from which they are constructed generally degrades in five to six years. All car seats have expiration date stickers on them.
- Car Seats Can’t Be Used After Accidents – This is why car seat reuse isn’t a popular option, since potential buyers are often unsure if a seat has been in a collision, which could weaken the safety structures in the seat.
According to Angelica M. Baker, Phoenix Children’s Hospital Child Safety Passenger Specialist, “Garage sales and trash cans are not the answer to unwanted, old car seats – de-manufacturing and recycling is,” Baker explains. “This is the proper way to dispose of car seats. It’s important not to throw car seats in the dump. We have seen many cases where people will pull old car seats out of dumpsters or trash cans and use them.”
If you’re looking to get a car seat recycling program going in your community, you may have to do a bit of the “grunt” work. Disassembling car seats does require a little work, but it’s worthwhile. Not only will you help keep unsafe seats from being used, but you’ll prevent reusable materials like plastic and metal from being landfilled.