If you have usable or expired car seats, you don’t have to throw them away! You can donate recent models or recycle old ones.
Seattle Goodwill will accept gently used car seats if they are not expired or have not been recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). To find car seat expiration dates, look on the manufacturer labels on the sides or bottom of the seat. To find a Seattle Goodwill donation center near you go online or call (206) 329-1000.
Seattle-based retail store Goods for the Planet accepts car seats for recycling (fee is $8). Child car seats can be dropped-off during the store’s operating hours. Note that all fabric and fabric straps will need to be removed before dropping off.
Goods for the Planet
525 Dexter Ave, Seattle WA 98109
HOURS: Monday through Sunday | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
You can also mail in your car seat for recycling. For the cost of shipping, BabyEarth’s RENEW recycling program will disassemble used baby equipment and distribute recyclable parts and pieces to recycling centers.
To participate in this program, mail your item to:
RENEW Recycling Program
21 Cypress Blvd Ste. 1120
Round Rock, TX 78665
The Big Picture
Washington State law mandates that children under the age of eight are required to ride in a car seat or booster seat(1). As children grow, different types of seats are required to meet safety standards(2). Waste-wise, this means that for every child, parents will need to purchase and eventually dispose of 3-4 types of car seats in their child’s lifetime.
One of the challenges with reusing car seats is that they are one of the few items that are difficult to sell, donate or give-away. Because of liability issues, there is a limited market for used car seats, as many second-hand retailers and consignment shops will not take them.
If you do want to use or purchase a used car seat, make sure you can verify the age and crash history of the seat, whether or not it has expired, and confirm that none of the original parts are missing.
Across the US, recycling programs for car seats are in their infancy(3). In the Pacific Northwest, Seattle and Portland have led the way with drop-off recycling programs.
If you have a child’s car seat, use it for as long as you can. When the car seat is ready to retire, you can help reduce waste by taking advantage of car seat recycling programs.
Sources: WA Department of Education Booster Seat Laws | (1) Washington State Booster Seat Coalition | (2) National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – Car Seats | (3) Earth 911 “Car Seat Recycling” | SafeKids.org “Car Seats, Booster Seats and Seat belt Safety” | About.com Car Seat Expiration