The Hamilton City Council has given child car seat recycling a boost with a subsidy which aims to extend access to the
programme in the city.
The council has partnered with the SeatSmart child car seat recycling programme and will offer a subsidy of $15 a seat
for up to 300 seats a year from its waste reduction fund. This means the cost to residents will be $10 per seat. The
programme also aims to add at least one new collection site in the coming months.
The city’s original collection site, Baby on the Move Hamilton, was one of the first in the country, having taken part
in the programme’s 2-year project, trialing collection and dismantling of seats.
Hamilton City Council Waste Minimisation Advisor Kirsty Quickfall says they’re excited to join the many other Councils
across New Zealand supporting SeatSmart. “As a Council we’re committed to working collaboratively with others on waste
minimisation initiatives that reduce our city’s dependency on landfill.
“While there are many eco-friendly alternatives available, with car seats it’s not as simple. This subsidy will make it
even easier for our residents to recycle these, saving up to 300 car seats which would otherwise have ended up in our
city’s landfill,” she says.
SeatSmart was created by Hastings-based recycling specialist 3R Group and has seen strong growth since launching in
April 2016, with 32 sites around New Zealand.
Programme manager Toni Bye says the increased demand, and complexity of the seats, meant 3R Group had to review the
dismantling process in the second half of 2018. “In line with 3R’s ethos of maximising the environmental and social
impact of recycling programmes, the decision was made to use social enterprises for the majority of the work,” Toni
The programme had been using the Department of Corrections Community Work programmes to provide free dismantling,
however the increased complexity and volume meant this was no longer feasible for all seats. “Using social enterprises
helps give paid work to people who have a disability, are disadvantaged or marginalised. However, as this work is paid
for, it also means the cost of recycling a seat increased to $25 per seat in late 2018,” Toni says.
“This support from the council will mean SeatSmart continues to deliver on its positive environmental and social
outcomes; tonnes of plastic and metal diverted from landfill, lowered use of virgin materials to make new seats,
improved child safety by raising awareness of child car seat expiry dates, plus providing work for people who have a
disability, are disadvantaged or marginalized, but at a lower cost to residents.”
One of the dismantlers is South Waikato Achievement Trust in Tokoroa. “The seats that are delivered to the South Waikato
Achievement Trust are dismantled so the components and materials can be separated and recycled or repurposed,” says the
Trust’s Chief Executive Russell Ensor.
“As well as being good for the environment, partnering with Seatsmart provides a real job with an income and
opportunities to make friends, learn skills and to feel a part of the community.”
For more information on the programme and other collection sites visit www.seatsmart.co.nz.