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UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital Kicks Off Car Seat Recycling Program at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo's Party for the Planet

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First 50 Visitors Who Drop Off Used Car Seat Receive Gifts

CLEVELAND, OH, April 17, 2013 – Car seats provide a convenient and safe solution to protect children in motor vehicles. Unfortunately, disposing of used car seats can pose a huge problem for the environment. With anywhere from 9-12 million car seats sold in the US annually, a huge number of used or damaged car seats are discarded in the trash each year. The reason is two-fold. All car seats are produced with an expiration date (typically 5-6 years from the date of manufacturing), which gives them a limited shelf life. And, until now, there has been nowhere in the state of Ohio to recycle car seats.

As part of University Hospitals’ Greening UH initiative, the UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center has launched the state’s first car seat recycling program. The program collects old car seats and evaluates them for potential future use. Those that still have years left before the expiration date and are in good shape are cleaned, disinfected and will be made available for patients in need at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and MacDonald Women’s Hospital. Seats that cannot be reused are separated into all the base materials—metal, plastic, fabric and Styrofoam—and recycled. Every part of a car seat except for the harness straps can be recycled or repurposed. Even the car seat covers are being upcycled to make pet beds for an area animal rescue shelter.

“We are excited to offer this service and meet a real need in the community,” says Jennifer Walker, communications coordinator, UH Rainbow Injury Prevention Center. “With the help of our recycling vendors, Republic Services and Comprehensive Waste Stream Consulting, and our partners at the Walton Hills Police Department who are assisting with storage, we are able to solve a real problem for people who want to responsibly dispose of car seats they can no longer use.”

The program will kick off on Sunday, April 21 with a used car seat collection event at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Party for the Planet. Visitors to the Zoo can drop off their used seats at the recycling drop off area located in the Lion Lot, across from the main entrance. Event sponsor, Bonnie Speed Logistics, will transport the seats collected to the recycling facility. The first 50 people who recycle a car seat will receive a reusable UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital tote bag and a coupon for a free kid’s meal from Applebee’s.

Those who are interested in recycling car seats but will not be at the Zoo on Sunday can turn in old seats at one of the 21 convenient drop off sites located throughout the Greater Cleveland area. For a complete listing of sites accepting used car seats for the Rainbow recycling program, go to www.RainbowBabies.org/recycle and click on the drop off location link. Those turning in a seat that may be able to be reused must fill out a waiver form, which can also be obtained on the website.

The UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital Injury Prevention Center is dedicated to reducing the burden of unintentional injuries by working with children and families throughout Greater Cleveland and serving as a resource on an array of injury prevention issues for community groups, health care providers, emergency medical services personnel, and law enforcement. Rainbow is lead agency for the Greater Cleveland Safe Kids/Safe Communities Coalition, a network of community members working together to prevent childhood injury. For more information about car seat recycling or other child passenger safety topics, call 216-983-1110.

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