Timaru District Council Waste Minimisation Manager Ruth Clarke with the first child car seat from the area to be recycled as part of the SeatSmart programme. She is also holding a bag made using straps from recycled seats. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/TIMARU DISTRICT COUNCIL

Timaru District Council Waste Minimisation Manager Ruth Clarke with the first child car seat from the area to be recycled as part of the SeatSmart programme. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/TIMARU DISTRICT COUNCIL

The Timaru District Council is among those in Canterbury leading the way with innovative child car seat recycling as four sites become available in the district for people to responsibly dispose of their unwanted seats.

SeatSmart has partnered with the Timaru District Council as well as Waimakariri and Hurunui district councils to introduce 11 new drop-off sites in Canterbury. This sees the total number of sites around New Zealand grow to 32 in eight regions.

The 11 new sites, added to the two currently in Christchurch and one in Rolleston, make Canterbury the region with the most SeatSmart collection sites in New Zealand. In the Timaru district, seats can be dropped off at the Redruth Resource Recovery Park in Timaru as well as the Geraldine, Temuka and Pleasant Point transfer stations.

There is a $5 recycling fee per seat, reduced from $10 (RRP), thanks to financial support from the Timaru District Council.

Council Waste Minimisation Manager Ruth Clarke says they are proud to introduce another waste reduction initiative. “In order for the many resources in a car seat to be recovered for reuse and recycling, Timaru District Council is pleased to offer a $5 subsidy to help families – meaning that to recycle a car seat, only a $5 charge would be incurred.”

She points out that if thrown in landfill some components of a seat, which could otherwise be recycled, would outlive the child it was designed to protect by many lifetimes.

“Now you can protect your child and protect the environment for their future by recycling the seat.”

SeatSmart programme manager Toni Bye says many people aren’t aware that car seats have a limited life span of six to 10 years. “Expired seats are often given away or sold unknowingly which could put a child at risk. Until recently, the only option for expired or damaged seats was to send them to landfill, despite around 90 per cent of the materials being recyclable. It’s great to have Timaru District Council help us give people a better alternative.”

SeatSmart was created by 3R Group and launched in April 2016. So far, nearly 7,500 seats have been recycled. For more information visit the SeatSmart website.