On 19 December 2022 the Environment Agency published new guidance in relation to management of waste upholstered domestic seating containing POPS. This new set of guidance will change the way we discard of upholstered furniture.
We can no longer take sofas, arm chairs or upholstered dinning chairs to the local tip. This new legislation will also prevent you from placing sofas and other upholstered seating into a hired skip. Due to this waste type now being classified as hazardous it must be disposed of in a specialised way.
In this article we look at:
Firstly, what does POPs mean and what does it stand for? POPs stands for persistent organic pollutant and is a term to describe a collection of chemicals and materials. These substances do not break down in the environment and can be a danger to human health and the environment.
Some examples of POPs are listed below:
Full list can be found here
Any waste seating that is upholstered will more than likely qualify under the new guidance, due to the presence of POPs.
Examples would include:
This includes any part contains leather, synthetic leather or foam
Upholstered seating commonly contains one of the following POPs:
These POPs are found on the back covers, in the foam, they can contaminate the lining and wadding.
The seating must be sorted and stored whereby, you are not damaging it, releasing the POPs or contaminating other waste. POP containing waste should not be mixed with other waste during production, storage, collection or treatment. This includes in a skip or bay station at a household recycling centre.
Upholstered seating waste can be collected on the same vehicle as other waste but the waste must not mix, the POP must not contaminate the other waste and it must be separated when taken off the vehicle.
You can separate whole items of POP seating from mixed waste, e.g. mixed waste skip. If you can show it has not contaminated the other waste. If the other waste has been contaminated it all must be treated as POP waste.
Using x-ray fluorescence to scan for bromine will indicate the presence of POPs
Any seating containing POPs must be incinerated. The hazardous waste incinerator must be authorised to accept POP waste. Find your nearest hazardous waste centre by contacting your local council. POP waste should not be treated, recycled or disposed by any other method than incineration.
Landfill operators must not accept any upholstered domestic seating waste including:
The only upholstered seating that can go to landfill is seating that can be confirmed as not containing any POPs.
This new set of legislation will affect all of us including, waste management firms, skip companies and furniture manufactures. To make sure you are on the right side of the law when it comes to upholstered seating disposal, dispose of it in the correct manner.