If car seats could talk. The road trips, the car naps, the crumbs. So much of our kids’ lives are spent buckled in backwards or forwards. Each transition from infant to toddler to booster seats feels like a major milestone in your family’s life. But at some point, it’s time to say goodbye.

So where is a car seat’s afterlife?

Well, every children’s car and booster seat has an expiry or ‘useful end of life.’ In fact Transport Canada advises to permanently discard them rather than donating to a charitable organization, second hand store, or giving to friends or relatives.

That is probably why there are an estimated 250,000-plus car seats ending up in Ontario’s landfills.

So instead of leaving ours curbside for garbage pick up, we found GTA dad Graham Lewis, CEO and founder of the not-for-profit ATMO Recycling Ltd. (formerly Green Propeller Recycling), a social enterprise that recovers, recycles and repurposes materials from car seats. For a fee ($17.70 for car seat and $7 for booster seat), he collects them, stripping the fabrics, dismantling the plastics and metals to sell, removing seat belts into new products, and shredding the really dirty material to send to horse farms as bedding.

So how to get yours to its recycled destiny?

Check here for where to drop-off your car set across Ontario (and B.C.) – they are often at children and baby stores. Pay the fee online and bring receipt with you when you drop them off.

Now, that’s a good-bye I can handle.