The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is now accepting children’s car and booster seats at its landfills and transfer stations for for recycling. (CSRD image)

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District is now accepting children’s car and booster seats at its landfills and transfer stations for for recycling. (CSRD image)

Column: CSRD steps up on children’s car seats while manufacturers get a free ride

In Plain View by Lachlan Labere

A twisty-turny weekend drive to Margaret Falls resulted in the inevitable complaint from the back seat by my son who was experiencing car sickness.

Though it’s been a while since I’ve experienced it myself, I remember that nauseating feeling all too well. I would say it’s similar to, but definitely not as bad as, how I felt after going on the hang-glider ride at the Salmon Arm Fair. (Just thinking about it can make me queasy.)

When I was around my son’s age, riding in the front seat of a vehicle was sometimes an option (at least with my parents), to help keep car sickness at bay. Today, it is recommended kids 12 and under stay in the backseat. On the upside, I think my son is happy the days of car and booster seats are behind him.

This week the Columbia Shuswap Regional District announced its new recycling program for infant and child car and booster seats. Used/expired seats can now be taken to regional district landfills and transfer stations where, for a $5 tipping fee, they can be dropped off for recycling.

“Previously, CSRD residents had few options for dealing with unused child car seats, often resulting in them ending up in local landfills,” reads a related news release. “This new program is more environmentally responsible, ensuring car seat components are properly recycled rather than thrown away.”

Read more: United Way Southern Interior child safety program expands

Read more: Column: Salmon Arm a Goldilocks city for families young – and not so young

Apparently it will cost the CSRD between $7 and $10 to recycle the seats, which is the reason for the $5 fee.

As with mattresses, there is currently no provincial stewardship program to cover the costs of child seats. Unlike mattresses, children’s car and booster seats come with an expiration date. According to Transport Canada, this isn’t required by regulation. It has to do with wear and tear and environmental impacts a seat can undergo during use.

According to Graco, a car seat manufacturer, “car seats can be used safely only for a defined period of time, typically 7 to 10 years.”

Transport Canada advises you do not sell or give away car seats or booster seats unless they meet safety requirements. However, Transport Canada also doesn’t recommend buying or using pre-owned car seats. Graco offers a similar message, saying unless you know a seat’s history, it’s best to buy new.

I can see no reason why car seat manufacturers should get a free ride on end-of-life responsibility for their products. They should also be part of a provincial stewardship program to cover the cost of recycling. Yes, that would likely mean a recycling fee tacked onto the initial sale. But if you’re buying a child’s seat, that small fee should be the least of your concerns.

@SalmonArm
lachlan@saobserver.net

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