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How to recycle expired car seats

Updated October 25, 2018

Because of concerns over car seat safety, car seat manufacturers stamp an expiration date on each seat. There are no national guidelines for expiration dates; instead, manufacturers determine the expiration date. While most car seats are actually usable for around 10 years, manufacturers stamp an expiration date anywhere from five to eight years after the car seat is made in order to keep up with changing regulations and standards. Although car seats are made of a large number of recyclable materials, there aren't many recycling programs available because there is a lot of labour involved in recycling a car seat.

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  1. Use scissors to remove the fabric, foam padding and harness straps from the child safety seat by cutting them off the car seat.

  2. Check on the Internet to see if your county has a car seat recycling program. Car seat recycling programs are currently only available in a few counties. You can find out if your county has a recycling program by searching for "car seat recycling."

  3. Call your local police and fire brigade. Often, if there is a local car seat recycling program, local law enforcement is in charge. The police will have a list of dates and drop-off locations.

  4. Check to see if the local fire brigade or Red Cross can use your expired car seat for any child safety seat classes or demonstrations. Local fire brigades will also sometimes destroy your expired car seat for you, if there is no recycling in the area.

  5. Contact your local recycling plant. Some plants will recycle the plastic, although many do not.

  6. Make sure the car seat is clearly marked "Unusable" if you are unable to recycle it. Cut the harness straps and put it in a large, black rubbish bag before you put it out with the rubbish.

  7. Tip

    You can always call your local police or fire brigade if you have questions about a car seat's expiration date or proper usage.


    Never reuse a car seat once it is involved in an accident.

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Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Internet
  • Local law enforcement phone numbers
  • Local recycling plant phone number
  • Rubbish bag

About the Author

Tamara Runzel has been writing parenting, family and relationship articles since 2008. Runzel started in television news, followed by education before deciding to be a stay at home mom. She is now a mom of three and home schools her two oldest children. Runzel holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from University of the Pacific.

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