Damaged or expired child car seats can now be taken to Go Eco Waikato Environment Centre to be recycled.

Hamiltonians wanting to recycle their child car seats now have a second option with Go Eco Waikato Environment Centre coming on board with the SeatSmart programme.

The charitable trust is now the 37th collection site nationwide for SeatSmart, a programme run by recycling experts 3R Group. It aims to tackle the issue of some 100,000 child car seats being sent to landfill each year in New Zealand, as well as raise awareness around the seats’ expiry dates.

“People don’t always know that child car seats have expiry dates. The extremes of temperature in cars, stress on plastic parts, all takes a toll on seats. It’s therefore important to know when seats are due to expire and get them out of circulation, ideally by recycling them,” says SeatSmart programme manager Toni Bye.

The goals of the programme fit well with Go Eco’s vision of healthy environments supported by thriving communities, says Community Educator Tania Ashman.

“We provide community education, collaborate with and support environmental groups and projects, provide inspiration for living lighter, and advocate on behalf of the environment. We are home to a depot for recycling electronic devices, batteries, light bulbs, toner cartridges, and we run Kaivolution Food Rescue,” she says.

“Once we understood how many children’s car seats end up in landfill – even though up to 70% of the seat (by weight) is recyclable – we wanted to offer the public an alternative. We’re really pleased to be working with SeatSmart to reduce waste and increase safety for our children.”

The cost to recycle a seat through Go Eco will be $15 including GST per seat.

SeatSmart has been available in Hamilton since 2015, with a collection site at Baby on the Move. This was one of first sites in the country, having been part of the programme’s project phase.

In March this year the Hamilton City Council partnered with SeatSmart by offering a subsidy covering up to 300 seats a year from its waste reduction fund.

The seats are collected from Hamilton and dismantled by a Waikato social enterprise, South Waikato Achievement Trust in Tokoroa – providing paid work for people who are disabled, disadvantaged or marginalised.

“The seats that are delivered to the South Waikato Achievement Trust are dismantled so the components and materials can be separated and recycled or repurposed,” says the Trust’s Chief Executive Russell Ensor.

“As well as being good for the environment, partnering with Seatsmart provides a real job with an income and opportunities to make friends, learn skills and to feel a part of the community.”