Driving community child restraint recycling trial

31 July 2017

The NRMA has partnered with sustainability specialists Equilibrium on a car seat recovery trial to provide New England families with a safe and environmentally-friendly way to dispose of their old child car restraints.

The trial has been rolled out in three locations across NSW including Tamworth, Kiama and Penrith as well as locations in Queensland and Victoria.

It is estimated over 200,000 child car seats reach their use-by-date every year, with the majority being either reused or sent to landfill. This is despite the fact at least 90 per cent of materials contained in a car safety seat are recyclable.

NRMA local director Fiona Simson said families need to be aware that child car seats have an expiry date of around 10 years and it is unsafe to reuse or resell outdated child safety restraints which may fall short of Australian Standards.

“The ultimate goal of this trial is to encourage families to recycle their old car safety seats to prevent used seats being left on the kerbside as litter or sold in garage sales, online shops and second hand stores,” Ms Simson said.

Typically a child will need at least two safety seats before they are old enough to sit in a car without one. The wasteful disposal of child car safety seats is a cost to the Government, the community and the environment. These costs can hit local councils and taxpayers hardest, who bear the cost of landfill waste.

“With limited options currently available to families to dispose of their safety seats in an environmentally-friendly way this child car safety seat recovery program offers parents a free and easy option.”

Damien Wrigley, general manager of sustainability specialists Equilibrium, said if the program was to be rolled out nationwide it had the potential to collect up to 200,000 unfit-for-use child restraints every year and recycle 90 percent of the material. This would remove around 900 tonnes of waste from landfill annually. New England Families can do their bit to reduce their environmental footprint by disposing of their used child car safety seats up until August 31 at Tamworth Community Recycling Centre.

The discarded child restraints are then disassembled at Challenge Business Service in Tamworth which provides work and support for people with disabilities.

Ms Simson said it is this extraordinary combination of reducing the risk of child death or injury, cutting landfill waste and creating jobs for vulnerable groups in regional areas that makes the trial a real win for the community.

“Get involved. Dig out your old car seats and bring them to the recycling bin at Tamworth Community Recycling Centre. With only a fraction of the targeted amount of restraints recycled so far, this trial needs your help if funding is to be continued.”

The following types of child car safety seats will be acceptable for disposal at the collection site:
• Rear facing infant carriers and bases;
• Forward facing seats;
• Booster seats;
• Items that attach directly to the seat or carrier supported by the manufacturer.

Address: Tamworth Community Recycling Centre: 123a Forest Road, Tamworth. Find out more about the recycling program.