How to identify and dispose of POPs waste
What are POPs, and why can domestic seating no longer go into skips?
In an effort to protect the environment and reduce pollution, the Environment Agency has recently enacted a new Persistent Organic Pollutants Regulation (POPs) that will affect what domestic waste can go into skip hire.
As part of this regulation, upholstered furniture can no longer be disposed of in skips, so what does this mean for you? Read on to find out more about why this regulation was implemented and what you can do with your upholstered furniture moving forward.
What are POPs?
POPs stands for Persistent organic pollutants (POPs), and they are chemicals that resist degradation and remain in the environment for long periods of time. Because of this, they can build up in the environment, causing long-term effects on ecosystems and human health.
Due to the severe health and environmental risks posed by POPs, producing and manufacturing products containing the chemicals was banned in 2007. However, domestic seating containing POPs still circulates, and testing for POPs is not always possible or reliable.
Examples of furniture that is considered a POPs containing item
Upholstered furniture is any household seating that may contain POPs, including but not limited to:
- sofa beds,
- kitchen and dining room chairs,
- stools and footstools,
- home office chairs,
- bean bags, floor and sofa cushions.
How are POPs items disposed of?
From January 2023, the Environment Agency has instructed that all domestic waste seating be treated as a POPs containing items. Councils and waste management professionals, such as Fast Skips and our subcontractors, have been instructed that the POPs content must be destroyed or irreversibly transformed so that it is no longer harmful. Therefore, it cannot be disposed of in landfills and must be incinerated.
How the POPs Regulation affects skip hire businesses
As stated above, the new regulation, which came into effect in January 2023, stated that POPs products could not be landfilled or mixed with waste streams containing non-POPs. Because of this, upholstered waste cannot be put into skips due to the risk of contamination.
What other options are there for disposing of upholstered furniture
We have created a POPs recycling service to collect domestic waste upholstered furniture. We can remove the waste with our man and van service, as long as only POPs items are collected.
Non-POPs items still cannot be mixed with this service.
You can still sell or reuse your furniture as long as it is in good condition and is reused for the same purpose that it was initially designed. There must be no damage before or during transit, and the new owner must be made aware of any minor repairs before it is reused. Reuse is now only lawful if the furniture has the original and appropriate fire safety labels attached.
It’s essential to ensure no domestic upholstered seating is put into your skip hire. This is because even one item can contaminate the rest of the waste in the skip, and we will have to pass on a contamination charge to you.
If you have upholstered furniture to dispose of, please book our man and van service, which can collect POPs-containing items, as long as this is the only waste and is not mixed with non-POPs waste.
For more information on our man and van service, click here.
More detailed information on POPs can be found on the GOV website.