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You can actually make money by trading in your kids' car seats once they outgrow them — here's how to do it

When it's time for your child to get a new car seat, what should you do with the one they've outgrown?

Clek kids' car seats

Photo Credit: iStock

When it's time for your child to get a new car seat, what should you do with the one they've outgrown? Car seat manufacturer Clek has the answer. 

The company's recycling program at CarSeatRecycling.com makes it simple to dispose of your old convertible, booster, or infant seat — and get a discount on a new one.

How car seat recycling works

First, you'll order a recycling kit from CarSeatRecycling.com. The kit comes with a bag to put the seat in and a prepaid shipping label. When you place your order, you'll be offered a choice of coupons to apply to your next car seat purchase. 

Then, when your kit comes, just follow the instructions to package your old car seat and drop it off at a UPS store. Clek will dismantle the old seat and use the metal, plastic, and padding to create new products.

Why recycle your car seat?

When your child outgrows items like clothing or toys, you can often gift or sell them to another family that needs them. But car seats are different. 

According to SafeKids.org, you should almost never use secondhand car seats. Not only can they sustain invisible damage from a crash that makes them unsafe for the next child, but they also have expiration dates as the material deteriorates over time. 

So passing on your car seat is out, and throwing it in the trash means one more bulky item taking up space in a landfill.

Clek is the only car seat manufacturer to offer an alternative. It started its recycling program 10 years ago, and the company says it works with partners in Canada and the U.S. to reuse the materials from old car seats. Clek pays for old seats with credit toward future purchases, making this a smart financial decision — and recycling the old materials reduces your impact on the environment. 

"We believe that as producers, we should be responsible for everything we make and put into this world," says Clek's website. "It starts with our design process, on to the selection of the materials we use, all the way through making sure the product materials and components are all recyclable or reusable."

Similar programs exist for a wide range of other products. For example, you can trade in old clothes for credit toward new ones at For Days, or sell used shoes to GotSneakers.

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