Families can put both safety and the environment first at a Seat Recycling Amnesty and Car Seat Check event tomorrow.
It is being run by Rotorua Car Seat Clinic and Rotorua Lakes Council.
Rotorua Car Seat Clinic (Parents Centre) co-ordinator Alice Waitoa says they made a submission on council's previous Long Term Plan requesting that car seat recycling be trialled in Rotorua.
This was in order to reduce the circulation of expired or unsuitable seats in the community and help keep our tamariki safe.
"Council is now in a position to assist by implementing a trial and heavily subsidising the cost of recycling a seat to $5 each to gauge whether we can run this long term.
"We are very happy to have council's support."
Alice says Rotorua Car Seat Clinic is passionate about the community's environment.
She says by providing a recycling service, it diverts a lot of plastic and metal that would otherwise end up in landfill.
"We also like to know that these seats are out of circulation and not able to be taken and used when they are no longer safe or legal."
All the seats that are dropped off on the day will be taken to Seatsmart by Rotorua Lakes Council, she says.
"Seatsmart is a great organisation that provides employment for people with disabilities, they dismantle and recycle and re-purpose 75 per cent of a car seat's materials.
"We are thrilled the council have come on board to provide a way to offer this service alongside Seatsmart locally."
Alice also says making sure your child restraints are installed correctly is so important.
"You never know where or when an impact might happen so giving your child the best possible chance of coming out of it okay is the best thing you can do."
She says 87 per cent of the seats they check need adjusting, and some of the common mistakes they see are harnesses not snug enough or car seats not in tight enough.
"We want to share our knowledge and help educate parents so they know how and why things like keeping a baby rear facing till at least 2 years old is important."
She says the council has donated a car seat to giveaway tomorrow to a person who brings a seat for recycling, and there will be spot prizes too.
Rotorua Car Seat Clinic is run by four qualified child restraint techs.
Rotorua Lakes Council waste minimisation officer Golnaz Nazem says most car seats are made of more than 90 per cent recyclable materials.
"Recovering recyclable materials means those resources can be made into new products which contributes to a more circular industry."
Golnaz says this initiative is a positive way to collaborate on two very important things for our community – safety in transport and waste minimisation.
"It's a great opportunity for parents/guardians to learn more about the use of car seats to keep tamariki safe, and by recycling the seats we help to sustain Social Enterprise which is a great cause.
"We want to encourage anyone with a car seat, whether it's expired or just needs a check, to come along and be part of this meaningful mahi."
Rotorua Lakes Council sustainable journeys co-ordinator Rachel Doelman says they have found that a lot of people don't realise car seats expire ,or they don't really understand why an expired car seat can be unsafe.
"Seats expire due to a number of reasons, including safety regulations changing, labels fading over time and because exposure to sunlight weakens some plastics.
"Expiry dates on car seats are sometimes difficult to translate, so if in doubt it is a good idea to have professionals check your seat to be safe – especially if you have bought your seat second-hand."
According to SeatSmart's website, industry data shows that more than 40,000 seats expire each year in New Zealand creating a disposal problem of more than 160,000 kg of waste.
- What: Seat Recycling Amnesty and Car Seat Check
- When: Saturday, April 10, 10am to 2pm
- Where: Rotorua Energy Events Centre