Thank you for supporting small business! | Free 2-4 Day Shipping on Feature Products

Recycle Car Seats: Saving Kids, Saving Earth

recycling car seats

How can we better accomplish both saving kids and the Earth at the same time? Recycle car seats.

Why is it important to figure out recycling for our car seats anyway?

Well, first of all, we are all required by law to use car seats for our children. Approximately 4 million babies born a year. The average child is in some stage of child restraint until they are at least 8 (by many states’ car seat laws) or older if they stay in one until they pass the 5-step seat belt fit test. That means at any given time there are millions upon millions of car seats in use.

recycling car seats

Secondly, car seats expire. Because of being exposed to extreme conditions like, heat and sun and freezing cold, the plastic car seats are made of may start to degrade after some years. (Expiration dates vary. Check your car seat for an expiration date. It should be on the label or stamped in the plastic.) Not to mention safety recalls that could potentially put millions of car seats out of commission at once.

car seat safety newsletter

Lastly, car seats often need to be replaced after they are involved in a crash because the stress the car seat is built to take on (on behalf of your child) weakens the safety structure of the seat.

All this equals a lot of car seats no longer being used every year. If they all go to the landfill, that equals big mountains of hard plastic and metal parts waiting years upon years to deteriorate.


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.”

Dismantling car seats does require a little work, but it’s worthwhile. It will help keep people from using unsafe seats. 

Here is a brief article posted on Safe Kids by May Romo of Safe Kids Salt Lake County explaining her take on the issue of recycling car seats. It succinctly describes how we at Safe Ride 4 Kids feel so we’re sharing it in full. Read on…

recycle car seats

Unfortunately, this program in Utah is no longer active. But we still like her philosophy so we looked up programs in our local community. Can we all keep reusable materials like plastic and metal out of the landfill?


In Colorado, the Department of Transportation offers a recycling program for car seats. You can drop off old, expired, or damaged car seats to one of several locations around the state.

We found the Recycle Your Car Seat website which lists programs in some other states as well. If  the website doesn’t list state your state, you can search online for programs near you.

recycle car seats

Trade in Programs

Some big box stores offer trade-in programs periodically where you can bring in your old car seat for recycling and they give you a discount on your next seat or a gift card to use in their store. Target has been helping customers recycle car seats for years. They offer a 20% discount for other baby gear in return for the used/crashed/expired seat. They work with Waste Management to collect and recycle car seats to be turned into other goods.

And Walmart started program in 2019 in association with TerraCycle. Walmart offers $30 gift cards to customers who bring in car seats for recycling.

Keep an eye out at these stores for when their next event will be. (Target’s next one is April 18-30, 2022.) They often have them in April in conjunction with Earth Day and in September in conjunction with Child Passenger Safety Week.

Plus, some car seat manufacturers offer recycling programs. You can contact the manufacturer for your car seat to see if they have a program to recycle your car seat.

Clek, a car seat manufacturer, recently started a year-round car seat recycling program. They will recycle any brand of car seat. And they have made it super easy. Simply order a recycling kit and drop it at a local UPS store to ship back to them. There is a small fee for the service, mostly to cover shipping.


Since the original first generations of the RideSafer Travel Vest didn’t have an expiration date and the current models have an expiration date of 10 years, they can withstand a lot of use in their lives. We have a trade-up program for people who have a small vest and need to upgrade to a large (or a large who need to upgrade to an extra large).

Don’t know what a RideSafer travel car seat is? Check it out here.

We ask that customers donate uncrashed vests to programs that take child restraints to give to low income families who would otherwise not afford them. When we have used vests or old but usable demos, we donate vests locally to WeeCycle. We will be happy to take donated small or large vests to these programs. You also can return used/old vests to the manufacturer for recycling. Contact them for details. Or you can search for a program near you.


If there isn’t a car seat recycling program near you and you don’t want to pay the fee for Clek to recycle your car seat, this is what you can do to help reduce waste:

  • Your car seat is not expired, recalled or crashed and still complies with current safety standards, donate it to a local charity. Many hospitals will accept car seat donations.
  • If your car seat is definitely ready to go bye-bye for good:
    • Dismantle the car seat
    • Separate any parts from the car seat that cannot be reused or recycled
    • Recycle any plastic or metal that you can
    • Take any fabrics to compost or to a reuse facility

By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004

Copyright 2022 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. You may not publish, broadcast, rewrite or redistribute this material without permission. You are welcome to link to Safe Ride 4 Kids or share on social media.

We originally published this post in April 2016. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

©amie durocher


  1. I am the Recycling Coordinator for the City of Perrysburg, Ohio. I am researching car seat recycling. Who accepts old car seat for recycling in Northwest Ohio? Do individual manufacturers offer a recycling program, any area hospitals? This is an issue that should be addressed and I would like to start a program in Perrysburg. If you have information to share, please let me know.

    1. Hi Judy, I don’t have any additional information to share about recycling car seats than what is contained in this article. Some car seat manufacturers do offer recycling programs. The RideSafer manufacturer will recycle RideSafer vests. Clek has a recycling program for any brand of car seat. I haven’t found any programs in Ohio.

    2. Hi! I am in CA and also researching for car seat recycling facilities. To date, Terracycle has been the only company that truly 100% recycles the entire car seat. Reach out and see if they would partner with you.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Updated!

Sign up for our monthly newsletter.

news, updates, promotions

Thank you and welcome!
You have been subscribed.

us map car seat law updates

Subscribe for Updates

Get news and updates including updates on changes in state car seat laws by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.

Thank you for Subscribing! We'll see you at our next newsletter! 

4+ Stages of car seats

Get a basic understanding of the 4(+) Stages of Child Restraints your child will go through over the years with this cheat sheet.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

10 mistakes report

Do you know for sure if your kids are riding in the car safe?

After all 3 out of 4 of all car seats are being used incorrectly and 93% of newborns are in their car seats with critical errors. Learn how to fix the most common car seat mistakes with this report.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

make every arrival a safe arrival

Enter your name and email then click the button below to pledge and receive our news, tips and updates.

Thank you for Subscribing! We'll see you at our next newsletter! 

safer driving during pregnancy

Find out everything you need to know about the risks involved with driving during pregnancy and how to keep you and your baby as safe as possible in the car.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Get car seat and child safety updates, tips and reminders with our monthly newsletter. You'll also get new product and promotion announcements first.

Thank you for Subscribing! We'll see you at our next newsletter!