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Disposing of upholstered furniture 

From February 2024, there have been changes to the way we manage the disposal of upholstered furniture. This is due to new guidance about Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPS). POPs are organic chemical substances which pose a risk to the environment if not managed correctly. 

What is upholstered furniture?

Upholstered furniture includes:

  • settees, sofas, sofa beds
  • armchairs, including electric reclining chairs
  • home office chairs, upholstered kitchen and dining chairs
  • futons and pouffes
  • upholstered stools and footstools
  • beanbags
  • floor and sofa cushions

This list includes any parts made of, or containing:

  • leather
  • synthetic leather
  • other fabric, or foam

Disposing of upholstered furniture

If an item is in good condition and still usable, you may consider donating it to Cunninghame Furniture Recycling Company.

Some retailers offer a take back scheme, contact them to find out.

Upholstered furniture cannot be disposed of in bins, or at the kerbside, and should be kept separate from all other waste. 

Items of upholstered furniture may be disposed of as follows.

Household Waste Recycling Centres

When disposing of upholstered furniture at one of our centres, where possible please keep the item in one piece. Cover and wrap any ripped, torn or exposed areas to reduce the risk of potential pollutants entering the environment.

Upholstered furniture waste must be kept separate from other types of waste.

We have introduced new skips for these items. Please place upholstered furniture in the appropriate collection skip and not the regular compactor skip.

If you're not sure, please ask one of our attendants.

Bulky waste collection

Upholstered furniture that is damaged, ripped or torn, should be covered when presented at the kerb side for bulky waste collection. Use (non returnable) sheeting or tarp.

Dealing with waste upholstered furniture

Waste will be sent for Energy Recovery in line with legislative guidance.

Any waste containing POPs will be safely incinerated to generate energy. This ensures chemical are destroyed, or irreversibly transformed, and cannot be released into the wider environment.

More about POPs

POPS may be present in upholstered furniture as a result of a flame-retardant chemical. This chemical has been banned since 2019 and is no longer used. 

Household soft furnishings have fire retardants applied to meet Fire Safety Standards. 

Soft furnishing bought as new since 2019 should not contain fire-retardants with POPs.

Some fire-retardants contain POPs at levels that are not a cause for concern to the environment. 

Risk of exposure to POPs from upholstered furniture is low. To reduce risk, vacuum upholstered furniture regularly. Repair any damage.

Dismantling, or breaking down, upholstered furniture increases the risk of pollutants being released into the environment and may increase exposure.