Child car restraints have a fixed life span of between 6 and 10 years.

Latest News for Child Car Seats

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Email: SeatSmart
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Phone: +64 6 872 7235

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Many people don’t know that child car restraints (car seats) have a fixed life span of between 6 and 10 years.  Industry data shows that more than 40,000 seats expire each year in New Zealand creating a disposal problem of more than 160,000 kg of waste.  The majority of this waste has been going to landfill despite being highly recyclable, or is sold or donated regardless of expiry date.

Initiative: SeatSmart – product stewardship options for end-of-life car seats
Client: Key industry stakeholders
Brief: Enable retailers and organisations to work together to deliver a consistent, nationwide approach to the responsible disposal of car seats and increase awareness of car seat expiry dates
3R Role: Project manager and on-going programme management
3R Approach: Industry collaboration

SeatSmart timeline2Solution Seekers

3R became involved with child car seat recycling when former 3R project manager and Mum of two, Michelle, was told to take an expired car seat to the dump. Based on 3R’s previous experience developing stewardship programmes and working with difficult to recycle products, we knew there could be a better environmental outcome than landfill.

3R researched the problem, the industry, overseas experience, the materials and options for recycling, and then secured funding and support for the project.  3R have also been the driving force behind moving the project to the next phase – national rollout.


The collaborative industry-wide project team was brought together by 3R Group to design and develop a product stewardship programme for expired car seats that would reduce waste to landfill and raise consumer awareness of expiry dates on car seats.

Project Milestones

Led by 3R, the team worked through a series of milestones to confirm the recyclability of materials, understand costs and potential issues, develop a voluntary stewardship model, and prepare a business plan ready for roll out across New Zealand.

Positive outcomes for New Zealand

While the key manufacturers and retailers decided not to fund a stewardship model, 3R launched a user pays recycling programme to prove demand for such a scheme.

From project launch to June 2017, SeatSmart has:

  • diverted 5,400 car seats from landfill
  • recycled approximately 18,000 kilograms of polypropylene plastic
  • recycled approximately 2,700 kilograms of metal
  • repurposed webbing straps through companies making bags from repurposed materials

SeatSmart will continue to:

  • encourage the industry to adopt a stewardship approach
  • raise awareness of car seat safety and expiry dates
  • reduce the volume of car seat materials going to landfill

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