Our District

Child car seats now recyclable

A recycling service for child car restraints has hit the Kāpiti Coast with the aim of protecting our environment and our kids. Kāpiti Coast District Council and Midwest Disposals Ltd are partnering with SeatSmart to offer the recycling programme for expired or damaged car seats to residents.

A minimum of 40,000 child car restraints reach their expiry date each year in New Zealand. Most end up in a landfill, despite around 90 per cent of a typical seat being recyclable. 

“Many people aren’t aware that car seats have a limited life span of six to ten years,” says Toni Bye, SeatSmart programme manager. “Exposure to sunlight, changes in temperature, and stress from accidents, can cause materials to 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 give them away which could unnecessarily put a child at risk. With SeatSmart, expired or damaged seats can be safely taken out of circulation and the materials recycled or repurposed.”

Unwanted seats can be taken to the Otaihanga Resource Recovery Facility on Otaihanga Road for a small fee per seat to cover recycling costs, at present KCDC subsidies this cost to help encourage residents to recycle these seats. The facility is run by Waste Management on behalf of Midwest Disposals.

“We’re grateful for support from the Kāpiti Coast District Council to launch SeatSmart on the Coast, and to Midwest Disposals and Waste Management for operating the collection site for us,” said Mrs Bye.

“We expect the same strong demand for the programme here as we’ve had in other areas. For example, we launched SeatSmart in Wellington and the Hutt Valley in April and have received 220 seats for recycling in that short time. It proves families are keen to have a better environmental outcome for seats than landfill.”

The plastic from the seats is recycled into new products used in the building industry and metal parts are also easily recycled. Straps from the seats are used to make recycled bags.

Hastings-based recycling specialists, 3R Group, created SeatSmart. “We like to think that landfill should be the last option, not the default,” says Mrs Bye. “So often, highly recyclable products are put in the ‘too hard basket’ and simply dumped. Mattresses, tyres, paint, chemical containers, contaminated plastics, these are just some of the products that we tackle.”

SeatSmart collects seats in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Hastings, Whanganui, Kāpiti Coast, Wellington, Nelson and parts of Canterbury. More than 10,000 seats have been recycled to date. Details of all collection sites can be found at www.SeatSmart.co.nz.

seatsmart recycling

Otaihanga Resource Recovery Facility manager Dave Jones demonstrates how easy it is to recycle your car seat.