Recycling to protect young lives

13 November 2019

It is the recycling decision that could save a life and that it is why a landmark agreement signed by motoring groups and the child car seat industry in Canberra today is such an important step in National Recycling Week (Nov 11-17).

More than 1,400,000 new child car seats are sold annually in Australia.

An estimated 200,000 are disposed of each year, the majority going to landfill, 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.

“Old, worn or damaged seats can suffer reduced structural integrity,” said Craig Ray, President of Child Accident Prevention Foundation of Australia (Kidsafe).

“Materials degrade over time and through repeated use and seats become less able to protect a child in an accident."

The Morrison Government is investing $20 million for Product Stewardship to encourage industry to take greater responsibility for waste and I intend to add child car seats to the Priority List under the Product Stewardship Act. 

The Memorandum of Understanding signed today sees car seat manufacturers, retailers and motoring associations coming together for the first time to adopt a “Seat Care” program that makes 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.

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.

Recycling week is a reminder of the important role industries can and should play in ensuring an ‘after-life’ for product material and in reducing packaging waste.

It is also a chance for us all to check our own recycle habits to ensure we are all doing our part to reduce the pressures on landfill and the environment.