Car seat trade-in programs are a great opportunity to recycle old car seats. By recycling our children’s car seats, we can save more children that are exposed to the dangers of motor vehicle accidents while also saving the Earth. 

Target Car Seat Trade in program is the best trade in program for 2020. Sadly, it seems that the Walmart trade in program is not going to happen this year. During normal years the Walmart program is a lot more popular. Walmart Trade in program offers a $30 gift card instead of 20% off that you get in the target program. However, since the Target program is the only choice for this year, might be a good idea to take advantage of it.

Below we’ll cover each one of these car seat trade-in programs in more detail.

Car Seat Trade in Programs

Target Car Seat Trade-in Program

Target Car Seat Trade-in 2020 is set to start Sunday, September 13, 2020, through Saturday, September 26, 2020. All Car seats must be traded in at a Target store. Target will have drop-off boxes to accept guests’ car seats for recycling located near Guest Services.

All stores, including select small-format stores, are participating in the program. To Find a participating store, click here.

Guests who trade in their old car seats will receive a 20% off coupon toward a new car seat, car seat base, travel system, stroller or select baby home gear. Select baby home gear includes playards, high chairs, swings, rockers and bouncers.

Coupons can be applied to both in-store and online purchases and are eligible through October 3, 2020. Guests must be enrolled in Target Circle to participate in the trade-in and receive a coupon.

What Car Seats Are Accepted?

Target’s program accepts all kinds of car seats. These car seats include, but are not limited to:

The car seats Target accepts can be expired or damaged, and don’t need to be in great shape. So even if you think your old car seat is in a questionable condition, you should bring it into Target. They’ll accept any car seat for their recycling program. 

When Can I Trade-in?

Target Car Seat Trade starts Sunday, September 13, 2020, through Saturday, September 26, 2020.

Four years ago, target officially became the first retailer to hold a car seat trade-in event. After Target pushed the idea forward, many other retailers followed in Target’s footsteps. Target encouraged its shoppers to recycle their car seats by utilizing incentives.

Interestingly, since Target launched this program, it has recycled over half a million car seats, and those numbers are only increasing. Also, because of Target’s trade-in program, the corporation has recycled over 11.9 million pounds of materials. That’s a vast amount of plastic material that Target has prevented from winding up in landfills. 

Other Popular Car Seat Trade-in Programs

Several corporations that sell car seats offer trade-in programs to entice parents to recycle their old car seats. The retailers that are currently offering this include:

  • Walmart (2020 program is live – see below)
  • Clek

Walmart Car Seat Trade in Program

Walmart recently joined forces with TerraCycle to create the country’s biggest car seat recycling event last year. The event first took place last year across almost all 4,000 Walmart stores that exist nationwide.

In 2019, this first-ever event was held during September 16-30th, nearly right after Target’s event. Much like Target did, Walmart decided to hold their car seat trade-in program during September because it is National Baby Safety Month. 

When Will Walmart Hold this Year’s Event?

The first-ever Walmart Car Seat Recycling Event will take place Sept. 16-30, in celebration of National Baby Safety Month.

Customers can trade-in used car seats at the Service desk in any participating Walmart store and receive a $30 Walmart gift card that can be used in-store or online to buy items for their baby.

Does Medicaid Pay for Special Needs Car Seats? 

*** 9/16/2020 – Update ***

We reached out to Terracycle to find out more up to date info. However, as it stands right now due to the global pandemic, the car seat trade-in program is on hold this year. 

All car seats collected in this program will be recycled through TerraCycle, and each component will be diverted from the landfill. In 2020, it is expected that Walmart will hold their car seat trade-in event once again sometime in September 2020 (source).

Normally, From September 16 until September 21, bring your car seat to a Walmart Supercenter to receive a $30 Walmart gift card to use in-store and online for your baby’s next car seat.

Participating is simple:

  1. Bring your well-loved car seat to a participating Walmart Supercenter.
  2. Find the customer service counter to give your car seat to an associate, who will collect it for recycling.
  3. Receive your $30 gift card!*

Important Notes 

  • Any brand of car seat is accepted through this program.
  • Booster seats are not accepted.
  • Limit two (2) gift cards per household.

Walmart advertised this event with safety in mind, letting everybody know that safety was the most important factor in their baby department. Because of that, Walmart decided to use its vast size and bevy of stores to make an event that created unprecedented access to a trade-in of infant car seats.

By trading in their old car seats, people received a gift card to the store. So, if a person needed a new car seat, that gift card could be applied to that purchase. Walmart also mentioned that they were focused on sustainability, so that is why they partnered with TerraCycle to help them recycle the components of the car seats.

Infant Car Seat Vs. Convertible Seat For Newborn

What Types of Car Seats Can You Trade-in?

TerraCycle does add a great deal of assistance to the Walmart recycling program. Because of TerraCycle, car seats that were traditionally considered non-recyclable all of a sudden became nationally recyclable.

That meant that much like Target’s program, Walmart will also take any car seat. Walmart also announced that by recycling so many car seats, they hoped to give people access to a new car seat to protect their children with ease. Because of the event, Walmart diverted the plastic equal to about thirty-five million water bottles away from landfills.

5 Best Selling Car Seats 

SaleBestseller No. 1
Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Car Seat | Slim & Comfy Design Saves Space...
10,637 Reviews
Graco SlimFit 3 in 1 Car Seat | Slim & Comfy Design Saves Space...
  • All in One seat grows with Your child from 5 100 pound, rear to forward facing and becomes a belt...
  • Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the height of Your harness and headrest; integrated...
  • Engineered & crash tested to meet or exceed US Standard FMVSS 213; the Slim Fit car seat has been...
SaleBestseller No. 2
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat | Ride Rear Facing Longer...
27,464 Reviews
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat | Ride Rear Facing Longer...
  • Convertible car seat grows with your child from rear-facing harness (4-50 lb) to forward-facing...
  • Extend2Fit 4-position adjustable extension panel provides up to 5" additional legroom, allowing your...
  • Up to 50 lb rear-facing, allowing your child to safely ride rear-facing longer
Bestseller No. 3
Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat, Proof
  • 3-in-1 harness booster helps protect your child, from toddler to youth
  • Grows with your child from forward-facing harness (22-65 lb) to highback booster (40-100 lb*) to...
  • No-Rethread Simply Safe Adjust Harness System allows the headrest and harness to adjust together in...
SaleBestseller No. 4
Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat | Infant to Toddler Car Seat,...
9,608 Reviews
Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat | Infant to Toddler Car Seat,...
  • 4 in 1 car seat gives you 10 years of use: seamlessly transforms from rear facing harness car seat...
  • Graco protect Plus engineered helps to protect Your little one in frontal, side, rear and rollover...
  • Simply safe adjust harness system adjusts the height of your harness and headrest to 10 positions in...
SaleBestseller No. 5
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat, Harvest Moon
14,584 Reviews
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat, Harvest Moon
  • Built to grow: The 3 in 1 car seat built to grow for extended use through 3 stages: Rear facing 5 40...
  • Side impact protection: The grow and go’s side impact protection helps keep your child safe
  • Easy in, easy out: Harness holders keep the harness in an open position so it is easy to get your...

Last update on 2020-11-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Car Seat Expiration Brought To Light

Clek’s Car Seat Trade-in Program

Another manufacturer that offers a car seat trade-in program is Clek.

With Clek, you can perform your trade-in online any day of the year as long as you are willing to pay for the shipping of your car seat. Then it would help if you dropped your package off at a local UPS store. 

To get started with Clek, you first need to buy a recycling return label, which costs $39.99 on their website. After you pay for your label, within a single business day from the day of your purchase, you’ll get an Email with several items included in it. The Email will feature:

  • A UPS return shipping label for your car seat.
  • A personal discount code that’s made out in the same value of $39.99. You can use that discount on Clek’s website on a future purchase. 
  • Then you’ll need to package up your car seat and drop it off with the shipping label to your local UPS store. 

Why Should You Trade In Your Car Seat?

Below we’ll cover why you should consider recycling your car seat, the best car seat trade-in programs of 2020, and other options you may have for trading in your car seat. That way, you’ll have several options when it comes to trading in your old car seat for a new one, and you’ll learn how to save some money in the process. 

Since car seats do expire and degrade after exposure to a wide variety of climate issues, many of them become unusable after five to six years. For more detailed information about how long is car seat good for click here.

Furthermore, if a car seat is involved in a crash, it should not be reused again. That’s because the car seat experienced a tremendous amount of stress during the accident and is now weakened.

So, annually, many car seats are disposed of, and that creates an environmental problem. However, by utilizing a car seat recycling program, you can not only help save the environment, but you can also earn rewards and coupons towards the purchase of a new car seat.

Car Seats and Environmental Concerns

Since car seats degrade within five to six years after purchase, many of them are trashed. On top of this, car seats cannot be reused after an accident. So, that results in even more plastic being dumped into local landfills, all in the name of child safety.

Luckily, many corporations are noticing the environmental concerns the disposal of large amounts of plastics creates and are stepping up to help with recycling programs. If we continue to allow all of that plastic to wind up in our landfills, we’ll only exacerbate our environmental issues(source). 

Landfills are not the right way to get rid of old, degraded car seats. Instead, many corporations that sell car seats have realized that de-manufacturing and recycling those old car seats solves many problems.

By encouraging people to avoid throwing their car seats out and instead offering rebates and coupons towards the purchase of a new car seat, the car seat issue is slowly evolving with a more positive solution. 

Encouraging Buyers Towards a Solution

Still, the people that purchase car seats regularly need also to become a part of the solution. While it does take some time and effort to dismantle a car seat to recycle it, it is certainly worth the effort in the end. By turning in an old car seat, buyers can save money on their next purchase of a car seat or other item for their child at particular stores. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you understand the value of trading in your car seat to help the environment and your pocketbook, you have three different options. Whether you trade-in with Target, Walmart, or Clek, you’ll help out the environment and receive the benefit of a discount towards your next purchase. That way, both you and the environment win. 


Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren


  1. peggy dispenza Reply

    No WalMart in Northern NJ is participating in this program. I called 7 super centers.

    • Yes Peggy. The program is halted due to the pandemic. We all hope it will be restarted later in the year. We will stay in touch with Teracycle. Thanks for letting us know what you found.

  2. Thank you Keren. I just wanted to give some quick feedback this morning, September 16, 2020. I went to one Walmart customer service center and they are unaware or are receiving car seats as a trade-ins in the program and I called another Walmart and they are not doing it as well. If they are, many of the leader ship staff are unaware of it. Any further information is always appreciated. Thank you.

    • Thanks for letting me know Greg. We reached out to TerraCycle. Originally, it was planned to kick-off but due to renewing concerns about the pandemic, the program is on hold. We reached out again, for another update about when it might happen. We are waiting for answers. We updated the post and will update it again once new information comes to light. Thanks for letting us know. –Keren.

  3. Walmart is not running a car seat trade in event as of Sept 16, 2020. Those dates are from 2019. The source linked has 2019 dates.

    • Lindsey, yes another casualty of the global pandemic. Thanks for letting me know. We update the post and will share new information as it comes to light.

Write A Comment