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Tag Archives: Child car safety seat

Making Child Car Seats Safer with SeatCare

A new product stewardship initiative will provide parents and families with a convenient solution to dispose of their old, unwanted and potentially unsafe child car safety seats. A diverse group of manufacturers, retailers and child safety and automotive organisations is working collaboratively to develop a national child car safety seat recovery program.

The newly formed SeatCare program is expected to commence in 2020 in order to provide families, carers and others with an environmentally sustainable way to dispose of their old child car restraints.

SeatCare is a national first, and has been formed to include the key players across the life-cycle of child car safety seats, including manufacturers, automobile associations, Kidsafe, retailers and product stewardship specialists.

Equilibrium, sustainability and environmental management consultants, is co-designing and building the SeatCare program as an industry-led product stewardship scheme to deal with unwanted child car safety seats.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has shown great interest in the program and the opportunities it can provide to increase children’s safety and reduce waste. Assistant Minister Trevor Evans has also been part of the discussions and recently met with industry stakeholders to hear directly about the program and industry aspirations.

View Minister Ley’s media release here.

The Minister intends to add child car seats to the Priority List under the Product Stewardship Act.

At present, there is no program to support the take-back of old child car safety seats in Australia. Simultaneously, there is a growing public expectation that producers and retailers are well placed to demonstrate their corporate social and environmental responsibility in a very practical manner. As a result SeatCare is a timely solution that will address both safety and environmental objectives in a practical way.

Based on the 10-year recommended maximum life span of child car safety seats, national birth-rates, estimated changeover rate of units per child and per family, and other factors, trials have found that up to 1 million child car safety seats can potentially be captured and removed from the market per year through a well-designed, national take-back scheme such as SeatCare.

Families spend countless hours travelling in the car. Whether it be on family holidays, driving to shops or trips to the doctor, parents can find themselves buckling their children into their car seats multiple times a day. Combined with standard wear and tear and exposure to the sun and heat, a child may outgrow two to four safety seats before they are old enough to sit in a car without one.

Equilibrium ran a trial in 2017 throughout Queensland, NSW and Victoria which successfully collected 1,921 seats for recovery and recycling – 10,342 kilograms of materials including plastic and steel were diverted from landfill.

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% of child car safety seats can be recycled once dismantled. A product with such a significant percentage of recyclable material should be considered a valuable resource that is wasted when sent to landfill.

With a targeted launch date of mid-2020, SeatCare will provide parents 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.

When launched, the SeatCare program will accept the following types of child car safety seats:

> Rear facing carriers
> Forward facing seats
> Booster seats
> Car seat and carrier frames
> Car seat and carrier strapping

Items that attach directly to the seat or carrier supported by the manufacturer.

Once established, it is intended to start progressively rolling out collection sites in mid-2020, with an initial target of around 25 locations.   As the program expands, this number will grow and potentially could build to around 60 collection sites in both metropolitan and regional areas, and involve a number of accredited dismantling organisations and plastic and metal recyclers.

SeatCare represents a unique and timely product stewardship program that meets community need while also improving child safety and reducing waste to landfill.

Quotes attributable to Damien Wigley – General Manager, Equilibrium:

“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 is an excellent example of how manufacturers, auto associations, safety advocates and environmental specialists can create positive waste reduction programs that meet consumer expectations.”

“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 environmental sound processes.”

Media comment:

John Gertsakis – Director, Communications, Equilibrium
Mobile: 0409 422 089  Email: john@equil.com.au

Equilibrium media release
Environment Minister Ley media release

Child car safety seat recycling

 

Connecting safety and stewardship

It’s always refreshing to see new product categories added to the list of stewardship initiatives being developed in Australia.

It’s also a sign that more manufacturers and service providers can see the broader environmental and social benefits of managing the impacts associated with their products.

Consumer appetite for stewardship schemes that meet a clear need and are also equitable in their coverage nationwide, is strong and ever-increasing, but not always uncomplicated and adequately funded. Some are mature and meet community expectations, while others are nascent and in development.

Recent history has also shown us that not all product stewardship schemes are straightforward to design, fund and implement.

While there are multiple definitions and models of product stewardship and extended producer responsibility, the essence remains consistent. It primarily involves product manufacturers and associated service providers (including retailers) taking greater responsibility for their products across the life cycle from design and production all the way through to consumption and end-of-life management. Of course, there is a need for consumers and other players to play their role, and the need to share responsibility is essential.

Child Car Safety Seat Recycling Program

A new product category being investigated for stewardship action in Australia is the child car safety seat. Not always associated with take-back and recycling programs, the majority of these seats go straight to landfill at end-of-life despite being high recyclable.

Over 90% of a typical child car safety seat contains materials that can be recovered and reprocessed when correctly dismantled. The category includes rear facing infant carriers and bases, forward facing seats and booster seats.

A trial program has been running for several months in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland, with a view to generating information and data that can inform the design of a permanent national scheme.

An important aspect of the trial is its attention to both resource recovery and recycling as well as road safety requirements. This highlights a more holistic approach to defining product stewardship with a view to addressing multiple objectives.

A child may outgrow more than two safety seats before they are old enough to sit in a car without one. While some parents may choose to re-use seats or purchase them secondhand, it is recommended that child car safety seats be disposed of 10 years after the date of manufacture.

This is to protect children due to wear and tear and degradation of the seat, and to ensure outdated products are removed from the market and replaced by child restraints that meet current safety standards. Disposing of a child car safety seat once it reaches its fixed life span or after it has been involved in a crash can also give parents and carers peace of mind that their child will be protected.

In simple terms, removing worn or damaged child car safety seats from being reused not only protects children and infants, but provides an opportunity to responsibly divert seats into an efficient resource recovery and recycling program.

The trial program has provided parents and carers with a free and environmentally-positive option for disposing of their old child car restraints. By collecting and disassembling the seats on-site, the trial aims to divert in excess of 900 tonnes of waste away from landfill and back into the recycling stream.

Damien Wigley, who co-designed the trial, thought the challenge would be to encourage families to divert used seats that are currently left on the kerbside as litter, sold in garage sales or make their way into second hand stores and onto on-line shopping sites, for recycling.

“It’s been very encouraging that the community has been so responsive to disposing their seats in a responsible and convenient way,” said Wigley.

Enthusiastic collaboration between stakeholders has been a key feature of how the trial has been designed and implemented. A strong partnership approach has also helped to maximise community engagement and raise broader awareness about the potential for a permanent program.

The trial program received funding and support from the Queensland and NSW governments (Waste Less Recycle More Initiative – NSW), Victorian Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group as well as major car seat brands including Dorel and InfaSecure, and automotive association representatives from RACV, NRMA, RAA and RACT. Kidsafe and various social enterprises have also been involved in the trial’s promotion and delivery. Equilibrium developed the initiative and managed the overall implementation.

Stop Press! Video and case study available

For additional detail about the trial see the case study and video produced with the support of the Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group.

This story was first published in Inside Waste on 28 September 2017

 

Maxi Cosi supports the child car safety seat recycling program

Equilibrium are proud to be associated with Maxi Cosi as part of the the Child Car Safety Seat Recycling Program.

National Car Seat Recycling Program

Maxi-Cosi, as part of Dorel Australia was the first to participate in the National Car Seat Recycling Program in Australia. If you would like to recycle your used car seat, please drop them to one of the recycling centers by 30 September 2017 – http://bit.ly/2w5LV8b

Posted by Maxi-Cosi on Wednesday, 6 September 2017

 

If you would like to recycle your used car seat, please drop them to one of the recycling centers located in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland by 30 September 2017

http://bit.ly/2w5LV8b

 

NRMA – Child restraint recycling trial a triple-whammy win for community

Road safety, environmental benefits and regional jobs: a program that can deliver on any of these targets could expect the support of NRMA, so a scheme that has ready-made outcomes for all three gets our full attention – and it deserves yours too.

Add to that the fact that children and the disabled are the primary beneficiaries and it’s clear that the child car safety seat stewardship trial has the potential to deliver enormous positives for the community.

In order to ensure a permanent recycling program, Equilibrium must demonstrate significant community engagement and support. People with used and expired child restraints are urged to drop them at the following locations to support this valuable trial:

Kiama Community Recycling Centre: 446 Riverside Dr, Minnamurra.

Penrith Community Recycling Centre:Gate 3, 96 Dunheved Circuit, St Marys.

Tamworth Community Recycling Centre: 123a Forest Road, Tamworth.

Nudgee Resource Recovery Centre, 1402 Nudgee Rd, Nudgee Beach, Queensland

Willawong Resource Recovery Centre, 360 Sherbrooke Rd, Willawong, Queensland.

Reedy Creek Community Waste and Recycling Centre, 61 Hutchinson Street, Burleigh Heads, Queensland.

Darebin Resource Recovery Centre, 30 Kurnai Avenue, Reservoir Victoria

Launch of a New Trial to Recycle Old Child Car Safety Seats

Imagine over 200,000 child car safety seats stacked on top of each other. The seats would climb a staggering height of over 100km, equivalent to scaling Mt Everest 12 times. According to industry intelligence in the Australian market, estimates suggest that this number of expired or damaged child car safety seats were disposed of in 2015-2016. Such high rates of safety seat disposal reflect a positive step towards ensuring that expired or damaged seats are removed from the Australian market, however their disposal may come at a price to already over-burdened landfills.

The Market:

Child car safety seats carry some pretty precious cargo. With the welfare of our children in mind, Australia maintains high mandatory standards in the manufacture of child car safety seats. You can have full confidence that child car seats sold in Australia are designed to meet safety requirements, are constructed of high quality material, and are subjected to rigorous product testing before being released onto the market.

Those involved in the design, manufacture and supply of child car safety seats take the safety of their products seriously, and stress that their products are designed to be used for a fixed period of time. For this reason, child car safety seats sold in Australia are stamped with a date of production, and manufacturers recommend that the seat is not used after 10 years from this date. This is to ensure outdated and potentially degraded products are removed from the market and replaced by products that meet updated safety standards.

Age, extreme car temperatures, previous involvement in a crash and the standard wear of regularly used latches, straps and buckles can dramatically affect the ability of car seats to protect children in the event of a serious car accident. Disposing of a child car safety seat once it reaches its fixed life span can give parents peace of mind that their child will be protected in the event of a crash.

The Issue: The Value of Waste

Such high rates of child car safety seat disposal should be viewed as a positive for product safety, but their disposal comes at a price for local Councils and consumers who bear the cost of landfilling waste. There is currently very little access to schemes in Australia for people to responsibly dispose of their safety seats, and minimal disposal options for those that don’t wish to send their damaged or expired car seats to landfill. Consequently, many safety seats make their way to the second-hand market through garage sales, op-shops and kerbside dumping. The potential for re-use of expired and damaged seats through this market poses a significant safety risk. The remaining seats are simply dumped at landfill for want of a better disposal option.

While exact figures of child safety seat units disposed of per annum are difficult to determine, industry intelligence of the Australian market suggest that the disposal of over 200,000 child car seats would equate to in excess of 900 tonnes of waste to landfill. It has been estimated that at least 90% of materials by weight contained in a child car safety seat is of recyclable material. A product with such a significant percentage of recyclable material should be considered a valuable resource that is wasted when sent to landfill. The wasteful disposal of child safety seats is a cost to the government, the community and the environment. There would therefore appear to be an excellent opportunity in increasing resource recovery of materials used in damaged or expired child car safety seats and creating value from their disposal.

The Solution:

Having identified the potential for resource recovery in the disposal of damaged or expired child car safety seats, Equilibrium has been investigating the merits of a product stewardship scheme for the take-back and recycling of end-of-life child car safety seats. This solution to an avoidable waste problem will display social and environment leadership, and will provide a pathway for people to safely and effectively dispose of child safety seats, ensuring their removal from the second-hand market and enabling proper resource recovery and recycling.

Equilibrium’s Child Car Safety Seat Stewardship Trial has garnered considerable support from the Queensland and NSW Governments (Waste Less Recycle More Initiative), Victorian Metropolitan Waste and Resource Recovery Group as well as major car seat brands including Dorel and InfaSecure and automotive association representatives from RACV, NRMA, RAA, and RACT. Capitalising on this interest, Equilibrium has brought together a steering committee of interested parties to assist with trial development and implementation. The collaboration of interested organisations such as product manufacturers, local/state governments, road safety advocates and insurance agencies will provide the trial the benefits of strategic oversight and the sharing of existing industry knowledge related to the trial.

The trial is expected to conclude by the second half of this year.

Child Car Safety Seats – What a Valuable Waste!

Sitting and gathering dust in a garage and waiting for the right time to pass on your used child car safety seat to a friend or relative may soon be a thing of the past.

Child car safety seats that have been involved in an accident or have been mistreated could result in damage to a number of the key safety components. Continuous exposure to heat and sunlight, something Australia’s climate serves up best, could also degrade the plastic structure and other important parts.

It has been found that the average consumer has little knowledge about the existence of recommended expiry dates and the continuingly updated Australian Standards applied to the manufacture of child car safety seats – which in turn has an impact on the suitability of seats to protect children and infants over a period of time.

Removing potentially unsafe or worn or damaged child car safety seats from the market will not only protect children and infants, but could provide an opportunity to responsibly divert these products from landfill and implement an efficient resource recovery and recycling program.

Without a means to effectively remove child car safety seats from the public domain, expired and damaged seats may remain in circulation. They could be offered for sale in online stores such as Gumtree and eBay, illegally dumped on the side of a road or removed from kerbside hard rubbish collections to only be reused again.

There are currently no general programs or schemes within Australia to enable parents to responsibly dispose of and/or recycle child car safety seats. With a growing population and demand for new products, the cost to Governments and communities for the collection and disposal of child car safety seats will only increase.

Setting up a product stewardship and recycling program presents an opportunity to reduce the end-of-life child car safety seats being reused, sold or ending up in landfills which is what Equilibrium, an Australian based sustainability consulting and management company, is hoping to achieve.

Equilibrium will be bringing together a number of key stakeholders from product importers and manufacturers, retailers, automotive clubs and recyclers in early October 2016 to explore how a voluntary product stewardship program might be established to manage the whole of life cycle of a child car safety seat and significantly increase resource recovery and recycling as a result of providing an avenue to return and recycle end-of-life systems.

GlobalPSC Guest Blog http://www.globalpsc.net/child-car-safety-seats-what-a-valuable-waste/

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