Giving old car seats a new life

We've created a whole website dedicated to car seat recycling! Check it out here:

Car seats

In 2013, Zero Waste Washington and CoolMom teamed up to make children’s car seat recycling a reality in King County. The first – and biggest – hurdle was finding a recycler who would dismantle the car seats and separate the metal and plastics for market. Car seats are designed to withstand a collision, and this means that they are tough and labor intensive to take apart. The costs to process the seats can quickly outpace the value of the recovered materials.

We reached out to a number of potential businesses and Total Reclaim, a local recycler in south Seattle that focuses on electronics and fluorescent light recycling, responded. They began exploring what it would take to recycle the car seats, running tests and pilot projects to determine the feasibility of processing the seats and finding markets for the materials. Now, we are delighted to announce that Total Reclaim is accepting booster and car seats on an ongoing basis.

“I was astounded to learn the total volume of children’s car seats in the waste stream,” says Craig Lorch, co-owner of Total Reclaim. “With nearly 90,000 children born a year in Washington and 2 or 3 car seats per child as they grow up, I felt we needed to help keep some of these materials out of the landfill and offer car seat recycling as a community service.”

Families can bring their booster and car seats to Total Reclaim’s recycling facility at 2200 6th Ave. S. Seattle, WA 98134 from Monday – Friday 7:00 am to 4:30 pm. Each car seat costs $5 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 cost $7 per seat to recycle.

Families living in King County also have these drop-off options:

  • Recology Stores in Issaquah, Burien and Bothell accept car seats free-of-charge from residents whose solid waste is collected by Recology CleanScapes (Issaquah, Maple Valley, Carnation, Burien, SeaTac, Des Moines, Bothell and Shoreline). Residents in other jurisdictions can bring their car seats–with covers, straps and soft foam removed–to the Recology Stores for a $10 fee.
  • Residents of Bellevue may bring their car seats to the Republic Customer Care Center in Bellevue to be recycled free-of-charge.

Car seats collected at the Recology and Republic locations are shipped to Total Reclaim for recycling.

For more information about where and how to recycle car seats in Washington (including in Spokane and Lopez) and around the country, you can go to:

Last Updated (Friday, 24 March 2017 13:11)