Working as a community angel with UsedVancouver.com is very rewarding because environmental and human stewardship is the focus. My favourite project is the car seat recycling initiative that includes our amazing community partners Bellies to Babies Celebration and Gibsons Recycling Depot. On May 5th, UsedVancouver.com collected a total of 83 car seats and boosters and then transported them over to the recycling depot to be deconstructed and recycled. The plastic base and metal clips are the main pieces of the seats that are recycled.
The buzz for this car seat recycling project was amazing and parents within the Lower Mainland kept repeating the same comment: “Thank you for giving us a convenient way to dispose of this piece of baby gear that we’ve been saving to keep out of the landfill.” Even parents who learned about the initiative through social media loved the idea from afar.
For anyone interested in hosting a car seat recycling campaign or finding a place to dispose of a car seat, I recommend calling nearby recycling depots to start. Once you find a location that will recycle the plastic and metal from the seats, if a recycling depot receives enough interest from parents, it might see the value in testing several seats to find a common thread of plastic to continue the campaign. Our hope is for future campaigns to include more baby items once they’ve expired or been passed down many times, so they have a place to go and will be recycled. If you think of large baby items, they are usually comprised of several different materials, which makes things difficult for a recycling depot. Once common materials and types of plastics are defined, a broader scope of strollers, highchairs and saucers can be included.
Hosting this initiatives show the importance of grassroots UsedEverywhere.com movements and it’s wonderful to work with a company that so environmentally focused to reduce landfill waste.
Highlights of the collection this year include: most unique drop-off transportation. Check out our favourite two drop-off people that we’ve been calling Scooter Guy and Bicycle Mama. Both were super cool to chat with and we had to take a picture of the unique ways these car seats ended up for collection at Bellies to Babies Celebration:
The collection was very successful and we doubled our efforts from last September. The van that was used to transport the seats was packed from floor to roof once we made our way to Gibsons Recycling Depot the following day.
It was an amazing day to tour the Gibsons Recycling Depot (GRD). I highly recommend anyone with children to find a local recycling depot and arrange a tour or field trip. Every time I go to GRD I learn something new. The most amazing part of the depot is learning if personal waste actually reaches a depot, there isn’t much they can’t recycle. Items that prove tough for the depot always go back to mixed plastics, dirty or contaminated plastics and Styrofoam. An example of this is Styrofoam meat trays. Normally Styrofoam can be depleted of it’s air and packed down into small flats that is actually sold to be reused. But this can only be done with clean Styrofoam (from packing boxes of appliances, etc.). When GRD receives contaminated meat trays they can’t recycle them. So do you know what they do? Make planters (pictured below) for people to take/buy from the Depot. Amazing things can happen with waste if it just gets to the right place.
Other sources that are tough to dispose of are mixed plastics where a recycling code isn’t shared. Plastic pots from plants, mixed plastic shopping bags, baby items discussed at the beginning of this article, and many toys cause problems with waste management. The key message I always leave GRD with is to strengthen my resolve to manage my family’s personal waste. Biggest problem being plastic – buy it second hand! Plastic is such a durable material which is why it’s so difficult to recycle. Put that durability to use by listing and buying plastic online. Try hard to not bring new plastics into your life. When we do need to purchase plastic it would be great to have a clear vision of where these plastics will end up at the end of their life. If they are mixed, try to curb the original purchase unless buying used and encourage manufacturers to use a recyclable material. Hopefully car seat manufacturers will understand this problem and change policies to accept car seats back after they’ve expired to reuse the plastic and metal at their own manufacturing plants. But until this happens, UsedVancouver.com is proud to be offering this service to local parents. Grassroots efforts do make a difference and we thank all the people that brought us seats and our community partners for another great campaign!
Share your thoughts with us in the comments area below or visit our UsedVancouver.com Facebook page to chat with us and find out what we’re up to next in the Lower Mainland.