By Kelly Youngblood
Looking for a place to recycle your old car seat in the Champaign-Urbana area?
So are we.
Options are limited for car seat recycling in the area and it’s all due to cost, according to Urbana’s Recycling Coordinator Courtney Kwong.
“Unfortunately from the recyclers end of things the cost to hire workers to dismantle the plastic, process the plastic, and transport the plastic is costly. In return, the recycler may only be paid about 15 cents/lb. of plastic (depending upon current market prices). So the recycler would be lucky to break even,” Kwong said.
Kwong would like to see car seat manufacturers step up to the responsibility of providing end-of-life recycling for their products, which is why she urges people to write car seat manufacturers to express their concerns.
In the meantime, there are a few options available to help get rid of your car seat in an eco-friendly way.
Take a Road Trip
Ok, so driving two hours to recycle your car seat is not an ideal plan, but if you happen to be in the following area for other reasons, it could make more sense.
RecycleForce in Indianapolis, which is about a two-hour drive from Champaign, will recycle car seats for free. Drop off is Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. They ask that you remove the car seat cover.
Target, everyone’s favorite big box store, has held car seat trade in and recycling events in Champaign as recently as September 2019. Wal-Mart also started a program then. Chambanamoms.com will post when these happen (as we know of them!).
A mail-in program called Baby Earth recycles car seats and other baby items like strollers and high chairs. You are responsible for shipping costs but they will take care of the rest.
Sell or Donate
It’s not illegal to sell or donate a car seat, but there are things to consider when making sure your seat is safe enough to be reused. Your car seat should never have been in a major accident, it shouldn’t be expired, and it should still have all of the original parts (including the user’s manual). You should also check for any manufacturer recalls before trying to sell or donate your car seat. Most consignment shops are weary of taking used car seats because it’s difficult to determine the condition and safety of used seats.