Baby on the Move Taranaki Owner Leanne Vickers with some of the seats returned for recycling at her Inglewood store.

Recycling a child car seat is now free in the New Plymouth district following a successful trial earlier this year.

The New Plymouth District Council has put a subsidy in place to fully cover the cost of recycling child car seats through the SeatSmart programme. Baby on the Move Taranaki, in Inglewood, will continue to support the initiative as the collection site.

SeatSmart Programme Manager Toni Bye says the council is now the third in the country to offer free child car seat recycling to its residents. “Over the years we’ve had a lot of requests from locals for the service to open in the region and we’re delighted to now be able to offer a longer-term solution.”

New Plymouth District Council Manager Resources Kimberley Hope says the success of the trial, which collected 100 seats, proved there is a demand for a child car seat recycling option in the district.

“The 100 seats were dropped off well before the trail end date. That’s a lot of material that’s been kept out of the landfill and will instead be recycled in various ways. We are excited to extend this programme with the goal of recycling another 300 seats in the next 12 months,” she says.

Kimberley added funding for the subsidy comes from the Waste Disposal Levy and not from rates.

SeatSmart has collected well over 31,500 seats nationally to date – the equivalent of 160 tonnes of metal, plastic and straps which are recycled or repurposed. Up to 67% 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 repurposed materials, or plastic and metal being recycled into other products, Toni says.

The programme also aims to promote road safety by making parents and caregivers aware child car seats have expiry dates. “Seats typically expire after six to 10 years, which isn’t something people are always aware of. Things like the effects of temperature extremes in cars on the plastic, general wear and tear and changes in safety standards mean seats have a specific lifespan,” Toni says.