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Thrifty Car Rental Takes The Sustainability High Road

When economic times are tough it’s often things like sustainability initiatives which get cut back, but one car rental company isn’t letting the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic stop its drive for a better future.

As part of its wider move towards greater sustainability, Thrifty Car Rental has the expired or damaged child car seats from its Auckland branches recycled through the SeatSmart programme. Even with the economic impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector, Thrifty has continued this initiative by recently taking another 21 seats in to be recycled.

“Even in these challenging and unprecedented times, the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and our goal of becoming a carbon neutral company remains a key priority to Thrifty. We as a business are committed to doing our part in maintaining our planet for future generations,” says Thrifty Car Rental New Zealand General Manager, Tony Mortensen.

SeatSmart child car seat recycling Programme Manager Toni Bye says it’s impressive to see a company which has been so impacted by travel restrictions continue with its sustainability efforts.
“Thrifty are to be applauded for showing real leadership and doing the right thing with their child car seats that have passed their ‘used by’ date,” she says. “More and more, consumers are looking for companies to take responsibility for not only the products they make but also the products and materials they used when delivering their services.”

Seats collected by the programme are dismantled so the plastic, metal and straps can be recycled or repurposed. Dismantling is done by social enterprises, which employ people who have a disability or are disadvantaged or marginalised. Department of Corrections community work programmes also dismantle seats, providing indoor work opportunities for offenders.

Every year around 100,000 child car seats end up in landfill, despite up to 70% of the seat’s material (by weight) being recyclable. SeatSmart also works to educate the public around the fact that the seats have expiry dates, Toni says.

SeatSmart has 39 collection sites in 10 regions around the country. For more information visit

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