New Car Seat Recycling Options for Seattle

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Update 8/1/2017: Changing markets for recycled plastics have caused Total Reclaim to discontinue their car seat recycling service. Please check our data base for current recycling options.

The Old Car Seat, New Life team is pleased to announce that booster and car seat recycling will be available on an ongoing basis in Seattle thanks to our partnership with local recycler, Total Reclaim. The folks at Total Reclaim have worked with us on several collection events to test the feasibility of collecting, processing and finding markets for car seats. They are now ready to pilot test collecting seats on an ongoing basis.

Families in the Puget Sound area can bring their booster and car seats to Total Reclaim’s recycling facility at 2200 6th Ave. S. Seattle, WA 98134 from Monday – Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Each car seat will cost $5 per seat to recycle if the cover, straps and soft foam have been removed and placed in the customer’s home trash bin. Seats that have not had their covers, straps and soft foam removed will cost $7 per seat to recycle. Please see pictures below for guidance on what to remove. [Update 6/30/2017 All coverings must be removed prior to drop-off, and the fee has increased to $7 per seat due to market factors].

Why does it cost money to recycle?

Booster and car seats are designed to withstand a collision. This means that they are, by definition, difficult to take apart. Currently, the plastic and metal components in a booster or car seat are worth less than $.05 per pound. Even a car seat that weighs 15 pounds is only worth $.75 in the recycling market. Because it can take 15 minutes or more to separate the metal from the plastic components in the car seat, the labor costs quickly outpace the value of the recovered materials. Therefore recyclers must charge a fee to customers so that they do not lose money on the project.

Why do I have to remove the cover and straps?

Currently there is no recycling market for the car seat covers, the soft “comfort foam” or the harness straps. As recyclers must pay to remove and dispose of materials that go to the landfill, it is best to remove those items in advance.

What if I don’t live close to Seattle?

Total Reclaim and the Recology Stores are working together to create additional collection options for booster and car seats in greater King County. Until recently, the Recology stores were only able to accept seats from residents whose solid waste was collected by Recology Cleanscapes. Now, non-residents can bring their booster and car seats – with the covers, straps and soft foam removed – to the Recology Stores for a $10 fee. Please check here for more details.

First, remove the cover.

First, remove the cover.

The remove the straps and soft foam (if any).

Next remove the straps and soft foam (if any).

All of these soft items should be placed in your home garbage bin.

All of these soft items should be placed in your home garbage bin.

Metal, plastic and rigid foam pieces can be brought to your recycling location.

Metal, plastic and rigid foam pieces can be brought to your recycling location.