270,000. That’s the number of children’s car seats that are discarded each year in Washington. Zero Waste Washington is excited to announce a partnership with CoolMom to expand opportunities for parents in Seattle and King County to reuse or recycle those unwanted car seats.
Over 90,000 children are born each year in Washington, and each one is likely to need at least three car seats in his or her lifetime. Children’s car seats that have passed a safety inspection can be reused, and we want to encourage that. However, it is not safe or legal to reuse car seats that have been in a car crash or have reached their expiration date. That’s where recycling comes in! Each car seat contains about 15 pounds of rigid plastic, metal, nylon and foam that can be used again. That’s over 4 million pounds each year.
Unfortunately, places to bring children’s car seats for reuse or recycling are limited and the labor involved in preparing them for recycling is intense. Currently, the only program we know about in the state to recycle car seats that can’t be reused is offered by WestSide Baby at a handful of drop-off locations in Seattle and Burien. CoolMom also hosts occasional drop-off events in conjunction with WestSide Baby. WestSide Baby inspects and sorts the car seats, and provides reusable car seats to agencies for delivery to low income families who need them. The non-reusable car seats are dismantled for recycling.
carseat recyclingThis is a fabulous start, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the number of unwanted car seats available for recycling. Thanks to a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology, Zero Waste Washington and CoolMom will soon be collaborating to expand take-back options in Seattle and King County and to spread the word about how to reuse or recycle unwanted car seats. We’re delighted to enter into this partnership and are excited about working together to create a more convenient and sustainable system for recycling children’s car seats.
To view the article on Zero Waste Washington's site, click here.