When you’re stocking up on necessary items in preparation for baby, the prospect of recycling baby gear feels a million years away. But there gets to a point when all those baby things that you needed so badly in the beginning suddenly aren’t so useful. Your baby grows out of them or you move on from that particular stage.
Rather than throwing them away, there are many resources for reuse and recycling that can give these important baby items a new home–or at least offer you avenues to dispose of them properly. Here are a few of our favorite recycling spots for some of the most popular baby (and new mama!) items.
Car Seat. Most people don’t realize that car seats can expire 5-6 years after they are made, and the plastics that are used to make these seats can weaken and deteriorate over time. Although there are currently no companies in NYC that accept car seats for recycling, we found one in nearby New Jersey at Shade Tree Garage. Through this program, you can submit your expired infant and car seat for recycling and as an added bonus get a $20 discount on oil changes! Don’t live in the NYC area? Find your local car seat recycling destination here.
Baby Clothing. Babies grow out of their clothing so quickly. The best way to get maximum use out of your kids’ clothing is to reuse it by passing it along to someone who may need it. Bring your like-new items to a swap meet like Little Swappies, an event where you can exchange items that you no longer need for someone else’s like-new items. Little Swappies also offers textile recycling through their partnership with Reuse NYC, which is a great family-friendly way to teach your kids how to reduce, reuse and recycle. Everything that’s not swapped at Little Swappies is donated to their charity partner Room to Grow, so you can rest assured that every item is going to someone in need.
Crib Mattress. Even if you convert your crib into a toddler bed, eventually that child-size mattress will just be too small. Rather than send your crib mattress to the local landfill to join the other 40 million mattresses disposed in the U.S. every year, choose a crib mattress made with recyclable materials. Newton crib mattresses, for example, are made with no foam, glue, latex or springs, making it 100% recyclable. Since not all recycling facilities will accept mattresses, Newton will either direct you to the closest recycling facility or send return packaging and arrange recycling for you. You can also find a list of mattress recycling facilities here.
Breast Pump. Breast Pumps are a great tool to help you get baby on a bottle, and keep your baby breastfed longer. But at some point, one day, you’re not going to need it anymore. A new program, Medela Recycles, has created a way for moms to properly recycle electric breast pumps. Every pump they receive will support the donation of a brand new hospital-grade Medela Symphony® Preemie+TM Breastpump and breastfeeding supplies to a mom staying at a Ronald McDonald House due to having a baby in the NICU. That way, she’ll continue to have the same high-grade pump she had in the hospital while easing her nursing transition when she goes home. Medela Recycles provides a way with both recycle and impact another mom’s breastfeeding journey. For more information, visit Medela’s site.
Nursing Bras. Breastfeeding mamas can build up quite a collection of nursing bras. After you’ve weaned, you’ll likely have many nursing bras that you no longer need but are still useful. The best option is to pass them along to someone in need via The Bra Recyclers. With a mission to recycle textiles so that they don’t end up in landfills, this organization recycles and reuses bras, redistributing them around the world to families in need. Learn more about how to submit a bra to be recycled and/or reused here.
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