That old car seat: what the h*ll do I do with it?


So Junior has finally outgrown his car seat or booster seat. (Not sure? Check the requirements under Ontario’s Highway Traffic Act.) Sure, it’s got a second skin of ground Cheerio’s dust and YOP, and has the sweet-sour perfume of…. well, let’s just not go there, shall we? But it has served you well over the years, keeping your most precious cargo safe over the miles.

The question now is – what the h*ell do I do with it? Every year an estimated quarter of a million car seats are dumped into landfills in Ontario alone. But you – you are a responsible world citizen who doesn’t just blithely toss 20-25 pounds of plastic and polyester into the garbage. What’s a parent to do?

Whatever you do, don’t drop it off at your local Value Village or thrift shop. By law, they cannot accept it nor re-sell it. If you do, you’ve just dumped your landfill on someone else to dispose of. Not cool. Re-selling your car seat is also dicey and could have you unintentionally breaking the law.

If your seat falls within certain parameters,  some shelters may accept it for donation for a family in need. But always check with them before you drop it off though. Here in Toronto, the June Callwood Centre for Young Women – aka Jessie’s – will happily accept car seats that are less than 5 years from manufacture and are in excellent and clean condition. (If you seat looks – or smells – like it needs a good hosing down, here’s how to clean it.)

If it really is the end of the road for your beloved car seat, there can still be a happy ending to your long-term relationship.

Red Propeller is the first non-profit franchised social recycling organization dedicated to collect and dismantle child car seats for recycling purposes, while providing jobs for folks with barriers to employment. It’s a win-win-win situation. And they are right here in Toronto!  For a small fee – $10.00 for car seats, $5.00 for booster seats – Red Propeller will take in your used car seat, dismantle it and divert it from landfill to recycling.

It gets even better. My good friends Tracey and Shami at Silly Goose Kids host Red Propeller a few times a year. The next Car Seat Recycling Day at Silly Goose Kids is this Sat May 6 from 11am-4pm. Do a good thing, then celebrate by shopping for super fun, cool and funky toys, books and more at Toronto’s BEST toy store, right here on the Danforth (at Woodbine).

If you miss it this Saturday, check out Red Propeller’s schedule for other upcoming local recycling events, including in Kingston and Whitby. Or give them a call at 416-769-6682 and they will even come to you in the GTA.


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