Sofa disposal: All you need to know about new persistent organic pollutant regulations

And why you shouldn't put your old sofa in the skip!

The new rules for sofa and upolstered furniture disposal

The way we manage sofa disposal, and the processing of other upholstered items here in the UK has fundamentally changed due to new legislation from the Environment Agency that came into effect from 1st January 2023.

Whilst the Persistent Organic Pollutants Regulations (POPs) have been in place since 2007, the Environment Agency has now clarified that it will measure waste compliance against these regulations. The new regulations mean that upholstered domestic seating containing POPs cannot be disposed of in a landfill and must be incinerated.

This is a national regulation that will affect all skip hires, including commercial skip hire and domestic skip hires. Landfill sites will no longer accept upholstered domestic seating, so sofa disposal and the processing of other upholstered household items will need to follow a new process. Mattresses, however, are not impacted by the regulations.


In summary: Don’t use skips for your sofa disposal! If you see a fire retardant label, don’t skip it!


What is a persistent organic pollutant?

Persistent organic pollutants are poisonous chemical substances that remain intact in the environment for long periods of time, and if not disposed of properly, they become widely distributed geographically. As a result, they get into food chains and accumulate in the bodies of humans and wildlife, harming the environment and our health.

In the past, POPs were used in various products, including pesticides and industrial chemicals, and released during chemical and agricultural processes. The manufacture, sale and use of products containing POPs are now banned. Although they are no longer used in new products, they are still found in waste from the disposal of some industrial and domestic products.

Investigations undertaken by the Environment Agency have confirmed the widespread presence of very large quantities of POPs and other hazardous substances in materials used in upholstered domestic seating. To prevent lasting damage to the environment and food chains, these items that contain POPs must be incinerated and not re-used, recycled or landfilled.

What items contain persistent organic pollutants?

There are many household items that contain POPs that fall under this new legislation. This includes any part made of or containing leather, synthetic leather, fabric or foam, such as:

  • Sofas

  • Sofa beds

  • Armchairs

  • Kitchen and dining room chairs

  • Stools and foot stools

  • Home office chairs

  • Futons

  • Bean bags, floor and sofa cushions

How does this new legislation affect sofa disposal?

This change in legislation has a big impact on many of our customers. Previously hiring a skip would have been an ideal solution for processing upholstered furniture or old sofa disposal. For general skip hire, we are recommending that no items that contain POPs are put in to avoid additional charges when it comes to processing the waste.

Did you know?

Placing a sofa or other upholstered household items in skips will contaminate the whole skip? This means that you have to pay for the whole skip by weight to be disposed of, instead of just the sofa, armchair, futon etc.

As a result of the legislation changes we have had to make some changes to our pricing structure in order to comply with the new regulations. If you have a question, or you would like full details of our pricing, get in touch with our team of experts - we are always happy to help.

Need sofa disposal services?

If your sofa or other furniture has seen better days and you need to dispose of it, get in touch to see if we can help with our sofa disposal services in Worcester and the surrounding areas.

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