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Waste upholstered domestic seating and persistent organic pollutants (POPs)

January 18, 2023

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New guidance for disposing of waste upholstered domestic seating

After an investigation by the Environment Agency (EA) in 2021, they found large levels of  Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in seating textiles and foams. The EA contacted councils instructing them that from the start of 2023 all upholstered waste domestic seating must be incinerated or used as a fuel in, for example, a cement kiln.

All domestic seating must now be separated from other wastes. We can no longer accept domestic seating within mixed waste, general waste or mixed with any other waste type.

Examples of upholstered waste domestic seating

Waste items which fall under the guidance include:

  • Sofas
  • Sofa beds
  • Armchairs
  • Kitchen and dining room chairs
  • Stools and foot stools
  • Home office chairs
  • Futons
  • Bean bags
  • Floor and sofa cushions.

The guidance also covers all items with any part made of or containing leather, synthetic leather, other fabric or foam.


Products not considered ‘domestic seating’ for the purposes of the guidance include:

  • Items that are not upholstered (for example a wooden chair without a cushioned or textile back, seat or arms)
  • Deckchairs
  • Mattresses
  • Curtains
  • Blinds
  • Beds
  • Wastes from the manufacture of new domestic seating that are known not to contain POPs

If an item of domestic seating waste is upholstered, you should assume that it contains POPs, and manage it as a POPs waste, unless you can demonstrate that it does not contain POPs.

Guidance and regulatory position statements

The EA has published guidance documents on identifying, classifying and managing POPs in waste and three regulatory position
statements (RPSs) outlining its stance on the handling and treatment of soft furnishings containing persistent organic pollutants (POPs). The RPS documents do not alter the legal requirements around POPs, but set out the steps which must be taken to avoid formal enforcement action from the EA.


Do you have any waste upholstered domestic seating?

If you’re a business and the answer is yes, please contact our Customer Services team on 01392 826456 or your Account Manager who will be able to assist yo

If any of these materials are discovered in loads collected/delivered to us, we will have to apply additional charges.

If you are a domestic customer, we believe you can take your waste upholstered domestic seating to your local Recycling Centre, subject to the requirements of the appropriate local authority/operator.

We can no longer accept domestic seating with any other types of waste.