Sofas Disposal Hazardous Waste 2023


Sofa disposal regulations have changed. Since the start of 2023, it has become much more difficult to dispose of sofas due to a change in the rules set out by the Environment Agency. As a result of new regulations, many recycling centres are now not permitted to accept sofas. In this guide, we’ll discuss how to dispose of couches safely, providing advice and information for those looking to get rid of an old armchair, sofa or three-piece suite. 

What are the new regulations for sofa disposal?

From 2023, sofas and similar products, such as armchairs, beanbags, floor cushions and sofa beds, will be classified as hazardous waste due to the presence of POPs. POP stands for Persistent Organic Pollutants. Waste domestic seating products that contain POPs cannot be disposed of at most community tips, rubbish sites and recycling centres. Instead, there are specific guidelines governing sofa disposal. 


The new regulations published at state that couches, armchairs and other forms of household seating waste that contain POPs cannot be mixed with other types of waste and they must be dealt with according to safety guidelines. The changes mean that it’s not viable to drop an old settee off at the tip or local recycling centre. The majority of recycling centres are no longer able to accept seats, chairs and couches that contain POPs. Sofas and other upholstered seating waste must now be incinerated. They cannot be taken to a landfill site or a conventional household waste tip. 

What are POPs?

POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants) are organic compounds, which can impact both human and animal health. As POPs are resistant to chemical and biological breakdown processes, they deteriorate and disintegrate incredibly slowly. This means that there is a risk of chemicals ending up in natural and built-up environments, affecting the food chain and putting people and animals at risk. 


Examples of POPs that may be found in upholstered sofas, armchairs and floor cushions include:


  • DecaBDE (decabromodiphenyl ether): this is the most common type of POP found in domestic seating waste
  • HBCDD (hexabromocyclododecane)
  • PentaBDE (pentabromodiphenyl ether)
  • TetraBDE (tetrabromodiphenyl ether)


These chemicals tend to be found in covers and foam inserts. 


Additional POPs to be aware of include:


  • Antimony trioxide
  • Medium chain chlorinated paraffin


POPs were used to make fabrics flame-retardant before 2019. Since 2019, this technique has not been used, but many households still have sofas, chairs and suites that are made from materials that contain POPs. Changing the rules surrounding the disposal of sofas is designed to protect the environment from exposure to POPs and prevent water and ground pollution. 

What are the implications of new rubbish removal guidelines?

The new regulations for sofa disposal were introduced in January 2023. The primary aim is to reduce the risk of pollution to shield the natural environment. Although this is a positive move in terms of protecting wildlife and waterways, there are implications for people who are looking to get rid of an old couch and businesses that deal in services like house clearances, waste disposal and building and property development. 


The process of getting rid of upholstered seating waste that is no longer wanted or required is now more difficult. In days gone by, if you ordered a new couch, you could simply take your old sofa or armchair to a recycling centre. Today, this is no longer possible. Seated waste must be incinerated and the majority of recycling centres won’t accept upholstered armchairs, couches or other similar items, such as sofa beds, futons, office chairs and cushions. If you are thinking about taking your couch to the tip, you will need to check that the site has the required waste disposal and incineration facilities. This service is not yet widely available and there may be a fee. 


As well as being more complicated and less convenient, the process of getting rid of a sofa is also more expensive now. 

How can I dispose of my sofa?

If you’ve bought a new sofa, or you no longer need your couch, there are various options to explore. These include:


  1. Donating upholstered couches and chairs: one option is to donate your chairs and couches to a charity or advertise them on a community social media group. It’s important to contact local charities before donating large items and furniture like sofas. Some charities may not have the space to accept your sofa. Not all charities take furniture donations and those that do might want to look at the couch before making a decision. If a charity has to pay to dispose of the item because it’s not suitable, this will cost them money and put a dent in charity funds. 
  2. Visiting a suitable recycling facility: some recycling facilities have already adapted to cater to the new rules, which means that they can offer sofa disposal services. Check online to see if there are certified recycling facilities in your local area. If there is a suitable site, you can dispose of your couch in the skip provided. 
  3. Use a professional waste collection service: the simplest and most convenient way to clear your home or get rid of a tired or damaged sofa is to take advantage of a professional waste collection service. At JS Removals & Waste Management, we specialise in quick, efficient, affordable waste removal. With our services, you don’t have to worry about finding a site, travelling long distances or fitting a sofa into your boot. We will arrange a pickup date and time with you and take care of the job for you. You can relax, safe in the knowledge that your old sofa will be disposed of safely and legally. We provide collection services across the East Midlands. 


New guidelines introduced in early 2023 to protect the environment mean that upholstered sofas, chairs and sofa beds are now classed as hazardous waste. The new regulations mean that it has become more difficult and expensive to get rid of old couches and armchairs. The good news is that JS Removals & Waste Management specialises in efficient, affordable sofa disposal.


If you’re looking to get rid of your sofa in the East Midlands, don’t hesitate to contact us today for more information and a free quote. 


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