How to Safely Dispose of Baby Gear
Has your spring cleaning left you with an ever-growing pile of baby gear your little one has worn out, out-grown, or just doesn’t use anymore? Children have lots of stuff. From baby showers to impulse buys to gifts from well-meaning relatives, you end up with baby gear in every corner of the house. The biggest hurdle is always identifying what needs to go, so kudos to you! You’re halfway there. But how do you actually dispose of your old baby gear?
Depending on the product, how old it is, and what condition it’s in, you have four main options: donate it, sell it, recycle it, or throw it away. We recommend donating or finding a trade-in program if you can. You’ll be helping Mother Earth and your community with one simple donation. You already did the heavy lifting (literally and figuratively) by figuring out what has already served its purpose, so we’re here to help you figure out how to safely dispose of your old baby gear.
When your car seat is no longer in use – whether it was outgrown, in an accident, or is past its expiration date – it’s time to get rid of it. Depending on where you live, you’ll have different options for how to safely dispose of your LO’s car seat: trading it in, recycling it, or throwing it away. As a general rule, it is unsafe to use a second-hand car seat, especially one that you don’t know the history of, so donation centers won’t accept used car seats. Once you’re ready to retire your tired-and-true car seat, our how-to guide on recycling car seats has more in-depth instructions.
If your stroller is still rolling pretty, and you’re not planning on using it for any future children, donating or selling it is the best way to go. Give it a good, thorough clean and ensure it still has all of the necessary parts before bringing it to your local donation center.
Your high chair might see more spills and messes than most baby gear you own, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fit for donation once your kiddo is done with it. High chairs are always in demand, so give it a scrub, attach all the spare parts, and voila! It’s good to go to a donation center or yard sale.
If your high chair has seen one too many spaghetti dinners to donate, take the chair apart as much as you can and sort the materials. Try to find a recycling program that allows you to safely dispose of hard plastics. Most fabrics will have to go in the trash.
Cribs, Bassinets, and Play Yards
Cribs, bassinets, and play yards have to meet strict safety standards – and for good reason, your precious little spends a lot of time snoozing and resting. If your gear is still up to snuff, you can donate it to a local charity, thrift shop, or expectant parents in your life. If it’s past its prime, it’s destined for the trash or recycling plant depending on your state and city’s laws.
Reusing the mattress can be more unsafe than you think, and you don’t want to risk someone taking it if you leave it on the street with the rest of your trash. Your best bet is to check if your state has a mattress recycling program near you or to call a junk removal service to dispose of it for you. Fun fact: A large percentage of the materials in mattresses are actually recyclable!
Rockers and Swings
Once your peanut is able to hold up their head and sit on their own, they’ve graduated from their rocker or swing and moved on to bigger and better things. But what do you do with the gear? If it’s still in good condition, feel free to donate to another growing family. If not, take the swing or rocker apart as much as you can and sort the different materials to either trash or recycling, depending on regulations in your area.