SeatCare, a program to safely dispose of used child car safety seats for recycling will come into life with a grant from the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund (NPSIF).
The Seatcare program is planned to commence in 2021 and if successful, will be rolled out nationally over two to three years.
Equilibrium, in collaboration with a group of manufacturers, retailers and child safety and automotive organisations, is designing the program that aims to improve road safety while also reducing waste to landfill and costs to the community through illegal dumping of child car safety seats.
Organisations working together on this national initiative include Baby Bunting, Infasecure, Dorel, Britax, Kidsafe, NRMA, RAA and Equilibrium.
Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management, Trevor Evans MP, “This new product stewardship scheme for old, unwanted or obsolete child car safety seats will reduce waste going to landfill, lift recycling rates and help consumers make a practical, positive difference for the environment. We are shifting the dial in Australia as we change our mindset to thinking about waste as a resource and move towards a more circular economy.”
Child car safety seats have a limited life-span and their integrity can be compromised by factors such as accidents, time or age, temperature and sunlight and general wear and tear from use and moving them in and out of vehicles numerous times.
Presently, there is no program to support the take-back of old child car safety seats in Australia. A trial in 2018-2019 found there is a growing public desire for a program and that it is feasible to recover the seats and dismantle them. It is estimated that over 200,000 child car seats are disposed of every year, with the majority being sent to landfill. This is despite the fact that over 80 per cent of child car safety seats can be recycled once dismantled.
The aim of SeatCare is to provide parents and carers with a free and environmentally-friendly option for disposing of their old child car restraints. By collecting and disassembling the seats on-site, the program aims to divert in excess of 900 tonnes of waste away from landfill and back into the recycling stream.
The SeatCare scheme is expected to accept a variety of child car safety seats and associated accessories including:
- Rear facing carriers and forward facing seats
- Booster seats
- Car seat and carrier frames, as well as strapping
- Items that attach directly to the seat or carrier supported by the manufacturer
Equilibrium general manager Damien Wigley described the funding for SeatCare as a vote of confidence in industry’s ambition to develop and implement a community-friendly collection and recycling scheme. He said that SeatCare was an example of how manufacturers, auto associations, safety advocates and environmental specialists can create positive waste reduction programs that meet consumer expectations.”
“The SeatCare program will provide a unique community service that can improve road safety while also reducing waste to landfill through an industry-led stewardship program that is family friendly. SeatCare demonstrates how voluntary approaches to product stewardship can be achieved in a timely and outcome-oriented way. Multi-stakeholder involvement from the outset is the key to such programs, as is equitable co-funding, transparency and environmentally sound processes.”