In 2017, Go Green Baby hosted the first of many car seat recycling events in partnership with ATMO. "At-mo" (short for Atmosphere) is an Ontario based not-for-profit organization whose goal is to divert car seats and booster seats from the landfill. Over the last 4 years, we have helped the Kingston and surrounding areas save at least 400 car seats and booster seats from the dump! And we know that's just the tip of the iceberg. In Ontario alone, 250,000 car seats are disposed of in landfills annually.
The truck is almost full and about to head back to the GTA for disassembly, from a pick-up event in November 2018.
Why do car seat expire?
Wear & tear, exposure to the elements (sun/temperature), technological innovations, improved safety regulations and recalls are the biggest reasons for expiry dates on car seats.
Car seats and booster seats are "one-time" use safety devices; meaning once a seat has been involved in a collision, its use has expired. A crashed seat cannot be reused.
Why can't I put my expired seat in my weekly recycling pick-up?
There is no funding nor infrastructure for car seat recycling in municipal waste management. Seats need to be manually disassembled. This means all fabric and straps need to be removed, take apart the frames, separate plastics and metals and finally send the different materials into the correct recycling streams. It's time consuming and requires lots of space; but it provides local jobs and is of great benefit to the planet.
Do car seat manufacturers have a responsibility for the items they produce; knowing they will expire, can't be used after a collision, and that they cannot be recycled in municipal waste management?
We think so. We're proud to exclusively sell Clek car seats and booster seats because they have made the effort to build a recycling program into their business model. No other car seat manufacturer has a program like this but we would certainly love to see more manufacturers tap into their social responsibility and become leaders for change.
Kingstonians are so keen to recycle, all of these showed up before the truck even arrived! From March 2019.
So, when is the next Car Seat Recycling Day?
ATMO is no longer doing car seat recycling events, but will be starting a new nationwide drop-off program soon! The roll out of this program has been delayed by the pandemic but we expect to hear an update this spring. Details have yet to be released, so be sure to give them a follow on social media to learn more. We are proud to have worked with ATMO over the years and we look forward to supporting their goal of diverting recyclable waste from landfills in new and exciting ways.
What if I can't wait to recycle my seat any longer?
Unfortunately the only option right now is to take your car seat to a local landfill, or leave it out on a garbage pick up date that allows for large item pickup. Please cut the straps and the fabric, or write on the fabric "NOT SAFE FOR USE" to ensure that it is obvious the seat is not safe for use.