Child car seats are set to be added to the priority list under the Product Stewardship Act, Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley announced on November 13.
Under the Federal government’s $20 million Product Stewardship fund, Ley said she intends to at child car seats to the list to encourage greater responsibility for waste management.
More than 1,400,000 new child car seats are sold annually in Australia, and an estimated 200,000 are disposed of each year, the majority going to landfill, a statement from Ley explained.
“But even more concerning is the fact that thousands of others are passed on to family members, or sold, for use beyond their recommended life span of ten years,” Ley said.
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Wednesday in Canberra, with motoring groups and the child car seat industry adopting the “Seat Care” program.
Car seat manufacturers, retailers and motoring associations are committing to make it easy for parents and families to dispose of old and potentially dangerous child safety seats for recycling.
The materials recovered from the dismantled seats can be made into a range of products including outdoor furniture and flooring, bollards, garden edging, retaining walls, posts and stakes.
Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia (Kidsafe) president Craig Ray said that old, worn or damaged seats can suffer reduced structural integrity.
“Materials degrade over time and through repeated use and seats become less able to protect a child in an accident.”
A 2017 trial throughout Queensland, NSW and Victoria successfully collected 1,921 seats for recovery and recycling and diverted 10,342 kilograms of materials including plastic and steel from landfill.