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Taupō trials free child car seat recycling programme

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Residents in Taupō with expired or damaged child car seats can now recycle them for free.

This comes as Taupō District Council trials a collection site for national child car seat recycling programme SeatSmart.

Council environmental ranger - programmes Shannon Hanson says the trial kicked off on 5 May and will run for around a year.

"We wanted to fully subsidise the $25 recycling fee to make it as easy as possible for Taupō residents to take part in the programme. Everything we accept at our transfer stations’ recycling centres is free to drop off, so we wanted to make child car seat recycling consistent with this," Shannon said.

"To recycle your expired or damaged capsule, car seat or booster seat, simply drop it in the designated container during opening hours at the Broadlands Road Transfer Station in Taupō. The seats will then be collected, dismantled, and recycled."

SeatSmart programme manager Toni Bye said the full subsidy is a great show of support by Council.

"Child car seats have expiry dates of between six and 10 years depending on the make and model. While it’s important to get these expired seats out of circulation from a safety perspective, we want to avoid them going to landfill so we can give the materials a second life," she said.

SeatSmart has 42 permanent collection sites in nine regions around New Zealand.

"Taupō will be one of only two sites in the country where the cost is fully covered which will mean recycling seats is accessible for everyone."

SeatSmart recycles or repurposes around 75 percent of car seats by weight, including plastic, metal and straps.

"With about 100,000 seats expiring in New Zealand every year we’ve got a big job to do, so we’re delighted with the chance to trial the programme in Taupō," says Toni.

The Taupō site may become permanent if the trial is a success. According to Shannon, the Council are looking to see positive, consistent uptake in the programme.

"If we see this then we’ll certainly look into extending it for a longer period."

The programme also works to promote road safety through educating the public on the fact seats have expiry dates and need to be regularly checked for damage and fit, Toni says.

"It’s also important parents and caregivers understand that seats need to be assessed following accidents."

This safety side is a great added bonus, Shannon says.

"I initially contacted SeatSmart with the focus of diverting waste from landfill. But I now realise the important benefits that this programme has for road safety and raising awareness of getting rid of damaged and expired car seats," she says.

PHOTO: Taupō District Council asset manager solid waste and stormwater Brent Aitken (left) and Envirowaste operations supervisor Mike Rusden with one of the first child car seats to be recycled through the town’s trial collection site.

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