People recycling their expired or damaged child car seats will not only help the environment but an Upper Hutt Playcentre too, with $5 set to be donated for every seat brought in for recycling.

The SeatSmart child car seat recycling programme has been active in the Greater Wellington area since April last year, with the Wallaceville Playcentre as one of the seven drop off points. It is currently the only early learning centre acting as a drop off point for the programme.

Seatsmart programme manager Toni Bye says they want to show their appreciation to the volunteer-run Playcentre and encourage recycling in the area by donating $5 per seat for the first 40 seats dropped off in 2018.

Wallaceville Playcentre co-president Liz Guntur says they plan to put the money towards a whare that will be built as part of their outdoor playground redevelopment. “The whare would be like an open playhouse for creative play, with window cutouts using designs from different cultures within our centre, as well as others we would like to welcome.”

At least 40,000 child car restraints reach their expiry date each year in New Zealand. Most end up in a landfill, despite around 90 percent of typical seat materials being recyclable.

Collected seats are dismantled by Department of Corrections community work offenders, so the components can be recycled. The plastic from the seats is made into new products used in the building industry and metal parts are also easily recycled. Straps from the seats are used to make recycled bags.
The programme, which was launched nationally in April 2016, has seen over 6,000 seats collected. People in Upper Hutt with expired or damaged seats can hand them in at the Playcentre, with a $10 fee (RRP) to cover recycling costs.

Other drop-off sites in the Greater Wellington area are located at Baby on the Move Ngaio, Lyall Bay and Petone, The Sustainability Trust, Southern Landfill Recycle Centre and Otaihanga Resource Recovery Facility. Full details can be found here.

SeatSmart is supported in the Greater Wellington region by Hutt City Council, Kapiti Coast District Council, Upper Hutt City Council and Wellington City Council.

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