How and Where to Recycle Used Car Seats in Austin

Guidelines for the reuse and recycling of car seats

STOP! Before you throw out that car seat, please read the below. 

If your child has just outgrown his or her car seat or if you have a car seat collecting dust in your garage or attic, consider the following options before filling our already jam-packed landfills.

1. Reuse - only an option if the car seat is not damaged and has not expired.
2. Sell, trade, or give away - only an option if the car seat is not damaged and has not expired.
3. Recycle - an option if the car seat is damaged or has expired.

Before we show you ways to recycle your car seat, here are some car seat guidelines:

What is the Texas law for child passenger safety? 

All children younger than 8 years old, unless taller than 4’9”, are required to be in the appropriate child safety seat system wherever they ride in a passenger vehicle. The safety seat system MUST be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Are there any car seat requirements and guidelines?

Yes. Car seat guidelines/booster seat requirements are usually based on your child’s weight and approximate age. Remember, it’s safest for your child to ride rear-facing until at least 2 years of age. Read more about Child Passenger Safety Information on the Texas Department of Public Safety website.
  • Rear-Facing Seats (Infant car seats) - Birth to 35+ pounds and 2+ years old
  • Forward-facing Seats - 2+ years old and 35+ pounds up to the upper height or weight limit (40 – 80+ pounds) of the harnesses (usually 4+ years old). 
  • Booster Seats - 4+ years old and 40+ pounds and behavior maturity. MUST have a lap/shoulder belt to use a booster seat.
  • Adult Safety Belt - Once children outgrow their booster seat (usually at 10 – 12 years old) they can use the adult lap/shoulder safety belt if it fits them properly.

When is it time to change to a new car seat?

It’s time for a new car seat when:

  • Your child’s height/weight is not within the manufacturer’s recommended limits for the car seat
  • The car seat has met or exceeded the expiration date noted on the manufacturer’s label
  • The car seat was in a vehicle involved in an accident
  • The manufacturer’s label is missing. This shows the name of the manufacturer, the date the item was made and model number—needed for safety recalls!


Do car seats expire? 

Yes, car seats do expire. You can check your car seat owner’s manual or manufacturer’s label to find the expiration date. Expiration dates may vary among car seat models and manufacturers.

Can I reuse my child’s car seat for another child?

You can reuse your child’s car seat for another child only if the car seat is not damaged and has not expired.

Can I sell my car seat?

You can sell your child’s car seat only if the car seat is not damaged and has not expired.

Can car seats by recycled and if so where?

Yes. Here are two options to recycle your car seat as well as other baby gear.

Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center

As we were told, none of the local waste management and recycling programs recycle baby gear specifically. However, you may also take your car seat apart and drop the metal and plastic parts as well as Styrofoam at the Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center


Target runs their their Car Seat Trade-in Program twice a year.

Guests can bring any expired or unwanted car seats in to most Target stores (excluding small-format stores) for recycling and receive a 20 % off coupon valid for the purchase of a new car seat, car seat base, travel system, stroller, playards, high chairs, swings, rockers, or bouncers.

To make sure the old car seat materials get put to good use, Target has teamed up with Waste Management to recycle items collected during the trade in. They’ll turn the car seats into new products like pallets and plastic buckets, as well as construction materials like steel beams and carpet padding.

Check here for upcoming trade-in events

Next event: April 18-30, 2022.


Walmart has joined forces with TerraCycle and launched their car seat recycling event in 2019.

Customers can trade in used car seats at the Service desk in any participating Walmart store and receive a $30 Walmart gift card that can be used in store or online to buy items for their baby. All car seats collected in this program will be recycled through TerraCycle, and each component will be diverted from the landfill.

Not available at all Walmart Neighborhood Market locations. Limit of 2 gift cards per household. Booster seats not eligible for trade-in. Please see Customer Service desk for assistance with all car seat trade-ins. Gift cards subject to terms and conditions found here.

Visit the Walmart Baby Department for details and upcoming events.

Next event: TBA.

Please Recycle.

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