Donate: It is commonly believed that child carseats expire after six years. While this may be true for some models, they do vary. Evenflo carseats have an eight year life. Consider this aspect when purchasing to find a seat with the longest possible lifespan. Check the expiration date on the bottom of your car seat. Even if your child is done with the seat, many local organizations collect and distribute donations of used carseats that have not expired and have never been in a crash. Call your local woman's shelter or pregnancy counseling organization and ask if they could use your carseat.
Recycle: For carseats that are broken, expired, or have been in a crash, recycling is the next best option. Graco's FAQ site states that it does not have a recycling program for child carseats. They recommend recycling locally or removing straps before discarding in a landfill. Thanks for nothin' Graco! Likewise with Evenflo. The keyword 'recycle' cannot even be found on the Britax website. When I started this search, I had a quaint idea that carseat manufacurers would have some recycling program in place. The one I imagined wasn't great. You might have to ship the heavy plastic all the way to their plant, and you would probably have to pay them $25 to recycle it. Even such a mediocre option does not exist!
Luckily we live in a very environmentally conscious area, so there was one local store which collects and recycles carseats for $8. DH raised his eyebrows at that. Would I let my frugal side or my desire to help the environment win over this time? The two sides were at odds with each other again. In this case, I just couldn't let this 25+ pound hunk of plastic go to the landfill. I've never paid to recycle something before, but I figured since the carseat was a free hand-me-down in the first place, so it was justifiable. As I drove away from the shop $8 poorer, I felt pretty good about my decision.
What solutions have you found for your unused child carseats?
Please click to subscribe to the GrowingSlower RSS feed. Also, check out my current blog project. I'll be posting a weekly Linky so everyone can share their "This is how We" stories about their babies and children. It's a snapshot of our daily lives, so we never forget those fleeting moments. Look for my post this week so you can share your "This is how We Sleep" snapshot.
This has been part of the Sorta Crunchy Your Green Resource link-up.