What happens to my seat?

Most materials are recyclable

Up to 70% of seat materials (by weight) are recyclable, with the average child car seat being made of plastic (52%), metal (16%), straps (2%), and non-recyclables including fabric and unmarked plastics (30%).

The seats we collect are dismantled, materials identified and separated, so they can go to recycling and repurposing.

We return some metal locking clips to car seat technicians so they can be assessed and possibly reused.

Seats collected by SeatSmart are assumed to be expired or damaged.  This means they are not reused, given away or sold for use as a child car seat.






The straps are one of the first things we remove. Most of these can be repurposed (after a good clean) to make bags from various ‘waste’ materials.

Sustainability-minded creatives like Emma Saunders at The Green Collective and Ruth Love at Ein Malig, or charities like Paper 4 Trees and  Sustainable Papakura then use them to make totes, backpacks, and beach and shopping bags.

The supply of straps varies depending on demand but you can click through below to see some examples of innovative uses for repurposed materials. Some of the organisations we have supplied straps to:

The Green Collective

Paper 4 Trees

Ein Malig

Sustainable Papakura


Child car seats have a variety of different plastic parts made from a range of resin types. The largest volume plastics are polypropylene, the same used for ice-cream tubs, or high-density polyethylene, like that used for milk bottles. Both are highly recyclable in Aotearoa New Zealand. We also recycle a small amount of polystyrene.  These three plastics make up around 58% of the seat materials by weight.

Recyclable plastics are processed into a resin and supplied to make a wide variety of products. Examples could be plant pots, shampoo bottles, building materials and electrical conduit. We have actively been seeking a more circular solution for the plastics we recycle – ideally, a new long-life product that at the end of its use could also be recycled through SeatSmart.

Plastic can be recycled into various products


Metal is easily identifiable and highly recyclable.  It’s used to make a variety of products and components.  Chances are you own something made from recycled metal.

Recycling steel uses 70% less energy than mining and refining virgin iron ore.

Metal can be recycled into many products


Plastics – unmarked plastics and plastics which can’t be readily recycled in Aotearoa New Zealand, like PVC and ABS, currently go to landfill. We continue to seek alternative outlets for these plastics and to work with industry to improve the number of parts that have resin codes.

Fabric – seats covers are another challenge with the wide variety of shapes, fabric, holes for straps and cleanliness(!)  We have plans for a project to find creative uses for this fabric.

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work!

Please upgrade today!