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What to do with an expired car seat

 
Is your child’s car seat about to expire? You might be surprised to know that more than 40,000 child car restraints expire each year in New Zealand. You’ll also be surprised to know that the majority of these end up in landfill, despite over 90% of a typical seat being recyclable. Find out how you can recycle or repurpose your kids expired or damaged car seats.
Is your child’s car seat about to expire or has it become damaged in some way?

Find out how you can recycle or repurpose kids expired or damaged car seats and ensure they don't end up as landfill - it’s easier than you might think!
 

Expired car seats


You might be surprised to know that more than 40,000 child car restraints expire each year in New Zealand.

You’ll also be surprised to know that the majority of these end up in landfill, despite over 90% of a typical seat being recyclable.

That’s according to statistics from SeatSmart, New Zealand’s only child car seat recycling programme.

“Many people aren’t aware that children’s car seats have a limited life span of six to ten years,” says Toni Bye, SeatSmart programme manager. 

“For a variety of reasons the materials can degrade and weaken over time, which may affect how they would perform in an accident.

“People generally send their old seats to the landfill, which is a waste of resources, or pass them on, which could unnecessarily put a child at risk.
 

Recycling & repurposing car seats


“With SeatSmart, expired or damaged seats can be safely taken out of circulation and the materials recycled or repurposed.”

Hastings-based recycling specialists, 3R Group have launched SeatSmart in six locations across the country, including Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Hastings, Nelson and Christchurch. 

In the short time it has been operating nearly 4,000 seats have been recycled.

“The reaction to the programme has been overwhelmingly positive, with strong demand for the programme to now expand to other centres, particularly Wellington,” says Mrs. Bye.

Currently collected seats are dismantled by Department of Corrections as part of their community work programmes, and the recovered plastic is recycled into new products used in the building industry. 

Metal parts are also easily recycled.

“The straps and webbing are used by Karkt NZ and The Green Collective who make handmade bags from a variety of recycled items. 

Only fabric covers and polystyrene, around 6% of a seat’s weight, are currently unable to be recycled – but we’re always open to ideas!”
 

Car seat expiry dates


Along with reducing waste to landfill, the programme also aims to improve awareness of car seat expiry dates.

“Some people continue to use restraints after expiry because of a lack of understanding that exposure to sunlight, changes in temperature, and stress caused by accidents, can damage and weaken plastic.

“Giving people the choice of a positive disposal option for their seats will improve outcomes for both the environment and children on our roads,” says Mrs. Bye.
 

What to do with damaged & expired car seats


SeatSmart is supported by Auckland Council, Baby on the Move, Hastings District Council, Plunket and the Department of Corrections, plus Sustainable Initiatives Fund in Christchurch.

If you have a damaged or expired child car seat you can take it to one of the 12 drop off points around the country.

To cover the cost of recycling there is a $10 fee (RRP) charged at drop off.

More information can be found at www.SeatSmart.co.nz or follow them on Facebook.
 

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Source: This article was written by SeatSmart - New Zealand’s only child car seat recycling programme.
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