Tips & Advice

How To Recycle an Expired Car Seat

Mother driving and toddler in the backseat using a Britax Car Seat

Not sure what to do with your child’s old car seat? Expired seats should not be donated or reused—but they can be recycled. Here’s what you need to know.

Why do car seats have expiration dates?

The components that make up a car seat (plastics, fabrics, webbing, etc.) all degrade over time due to environmental factors, such as sunlight and heat.

Many car seat manufacturers perform “life cycle testing” in an environmental chamber that replicates the expected life span of the seat. The seat materials, manufacturing processes, and size/weight capacities are all designed in accordance with the life cycle test requirements.

How do I know if my car seat has expired?

The expiration date varies by product and the lifetime begins at the date of manufacture. For information relating to your car seat, please refer to your user guide and serial label.

What can I do with an expired seat?

Britax recommends that caregivers discard expired car seats. There are currently two options caregivers can follow:

1. Recycle the seat: See if there is a local recycling service that accepts car seat parts in your area and be sure to follow their protocol. You may find that certain parts, like harness webbing, may not be recyclable. Be sure to cut off all the webbing, cut the cover, remove or blackout the serial number and manufacture date, and write “trash, do not use” on the car seat shell.

2. Save your seat for a trade-in event: During the biannual Target Trade-In Event, you can bring your expired car seat into a participating store to save 20% on a new car seat, car seat base, travel system or stroller, or select baby gear. Target has a goal of zero waste to landfills in U.S. operations by 2030, by partnering with Waste Management. Waste Management can break down the old car seats and create new products like pallets, steel beams, and carpet padding.

Target and Waste Management have been able to recycle 1.7 million car seats, which is the equivalent of 25 million pounds of car seats.* Britax has been a proud supporter of these sustainability efforts since 2016 when the program launched. The goal is to leave our planet better for future families.

Does Britax offer a car seat recycling program?

Britax does not currently offer a recycling program, but you may want to contact your local recycling facility to see if your seat can be recycled.


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