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BCAA Launches Pilot Program for Free Child Car Seat Recycling in Kelowna

Drop off at BCAA Auto Service Centre on Keehn Road, July 5-31

car seat recycling

Kelowna, B.C., June 30, 2021 – with over 85,000 child car seats ending up in the landfill annually in BC, BCAA is launching a new pilot program to provide Kelowna families with a simple, environmentally friendly way to dispose of used or expired child car seats, while also supporting a local non profit. The seat materials get a second life as anything from dog leashes to garden tools.

Starting July 5, locals can locals can register and drop off child car seats at the Kelowna BCAA Auto Service Centre at 1545 Keehn Road for free recycling. BCAA will cover the usual recycling fee, while also donating $5 per car seat to the local chapter of Mamas for Mamas - a non-profit which supports mothers and caregivers with programs and resources including access to safe transportation for children.

Shawn Pettipas, BCAA’s Director of Community Engagement, reminds parents that using expired child car seats increases the safety risk for child passengers, making it important to dispose of old seats properly. “There’s a very real safety reason why child car seats have a shelf life. The expiry date is stamped on the seat to keep our kids as safe as possible on the roads,” he says. “We’re excited about BCAA’s new pilot program because recycling is an environmentally friendly way to take potentially dangerous seats out of circulation, while giving a second life to many of the materials. It’s a win win.”

Since 2013, BCAA’s Community Child Car Seat Program has donated over 12,000 child car seats across the province, to provide safe transportation to children who might otherwise not have a safe option. With the positive success of this program, and safety risks of using expired car seats, BCAA devised the new pilot to explore how to expand its impact by addressing the end of a child car seat’s life cycle.

BCAA has partnered with non-profit social enterprise ATMO Recycling for the pilot. Recycling a car seat is labour intensive, taking about 1 ½ hours to dismantle and sort the components manually. In BC, consumers typically pay a fee between $8 and $25 to drop off a car seat at an independent private waste or recycling facility.

“ATMO Recycling is delighted to work with BCAA to close the loop on the disposal of expired and used car seats. Child car seats are made of a mixture of materials like rigid plastic, metal, foam and fabric, which are strongly bonded together, making them difficult to recycle. Our program finds new uses for the parts, reducing the amount of waste going to BC landfills,” says Graham Lewis, ATMO Recycling.

ATMO’s partnerships with industrial recyclers means 76% of each car seat gets a second life:

  • Plastic resin makes items such as buckets, cable insulation and plastic vehicle parts
  • Metal is turned into materials such as metal roofing or garden tools. Ferrous becomes rebar, used in poured concrete; non-ferrous is used within chassis or framing
  • Seat straps are turned into dog leashes and harnesses
  • Fabric and foam are used as fuel in a high burn furnace

Program dates and how to participate

BCAA’s pilot car seat recycling program runs from July 5-31 (Monday-Saturday, 9AM-5PM). It is free for anyone in the area, with the drop-off location at Kelowna BCAA Auto Service Centre.

  • Fill out a registration form at bcaa.com/carseatrecycling.
  • Save your confirmation email and show it when you drop off your car seats at the Kelowna BCAA Auto Service Centre.

BCAA provides free child car seat safety education, training, resources and videos to ensure children can travel safely on BC roads. Go here for more tips.

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About BCAA
About BCAA The most trusted organization in British Columbia by its Members, BCAA serves 1 in 3 B.C. households with industry-leading products including home, car and travel insurance, roadside assistance, Evo Car Share and full automotive services at BCAA’s Auto Service Centres. BCAA has a long history focused on keeping kids safe on the road and at play through community programs such as its School Safety Patrol, Child Passenger Safety and BCAA Play Here. Please visit bcaa.com.


About ATMO
ATMO Recycling Ltd. is the only Canadian not for profit social enterprise dedicated to responsibly recycling child car seats. Since 2016, ATMO has kept almost 50,000 car seat shells away from landfills, and in BC, ATMO has partnerships with industrial recyclers to find creative uses for the various car seat components from the plastic to the fabric and straps, foam and metal. Please visit https://atmo.ca/.


About Mamas for Mamas
The Kelowna branch of Mamas for Mamas is part of a national charitable organization that supports mothers and caregivers in crisis by providing ongoing support to individuals and families facing various poverty-related struggles. The Kelowna branch has a ‘Karma Market’ where struggling families can access anything they need at no cost, as well as an ever-growing sustainable nourishment program that provides Kelowna families with a wide variety of freshly grown produce and protein. Please visit www.mamasformamas.org/kelowna.


For further information or to set up an interview, please contact:
Sara Holland
BCAA Senior Communication Manager
Sara.holland@bcaa.com, cell: 778.874.4046