Leanne Vickers, left, and Alicia Saunders of Baby On The Move in Inglewood with one of the first seats brought in for free recycling.

Free child car seat recycling is now available for the first time in Taranaki with the SeatSmart programme running a trial with New Plymouth District Council and retailer Baby On The Move Taranaki.

The collection site, at Baby On The Move in Inglewood, will accept a limited number of seats free of charge, until the end of June, thanks to a subsidy from the council.

“It’s great that we have been able to get all the pieces in place to make this happen,” SeatSmart Programme Manager Toni Bye says. “We’re especially delighted the council has chosen to make car seat recycling free during the trial.”

Council Manager Resource Recovery Kimberley Hope says they’re pleased to support the local recycling initiative. “Price can be a barrier to recycling so we’re really happy we can cover this cost for parents and keep these car seats out of the landfill. It’s another step towards us becoming a Zero Waste district.”

 SeatSmart collects expired and damaged child car seats which are dismantled so the plastic, metal and straps can be recycled or repurposed. Up to 75% of a seat’s materials, by weight, can find an outlet – whether that’s straps being used as handles for bags made from a variety of waste materials or plastic processed into materials for the building industry, Toni says.

The programme also aims to raise awareness around the fact child car seats have expiry dates and encourages parents and caregivers to check these. “Most seats have an expiry date of between six and 10 years. It’s not something everyone knows about but it’s obviously important to know when your seat expires,” Toni says. “Seats have a specific life span due to a number of factors such as the effect of extreme temperatures inside cars on plastic, general wear and tear, and changes in safety standards over time.”

SeatSmart has been in operation since 2015 and has since grown to have 45 collection sites in 10 regions, with more added each year, she says. “We encourage parents and caregivers to make use of this fantastic opportunity and keep seats out of landfill.”