Renfrewshire Council

Changes to disposal of upholstered furniture to be rolled out in Renfrewshire

Due to new guidance, sofas, armchairs and other upholstered furniture items will soon no longer be accepted at some Renfrewshire Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC).

From 1 February 2024 Renfrewshire Council will be changing the way it collects, stores and disposes of upholstered domestic seating. This includes any seating items with cushions or padding, such as sofas, bean bags, office chairs and futons, to follow guidance by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), which supports existing legislation.

The reason for the change is these items contain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) - chemical substances that are known to stay intact, do not break down and can have a harmful impact on human health and the wider environment. The new guidance states that these items should be kept separate from other waste items to avoid contamination in the recycling process.

From 1 February the following upholstered furniture items will only be accepted at Linwood HWRC: sofas, sofa beds, armchairs, kitchen and dining room chairs, stools and foot stools, home office chairs, futons, bean bags and, floor and sofa cushions and electrical recliner chairs. There will be a dedicated upholstered seating container at the Linwood HWRC to safely dispose of these items.

Compliance with the new guidance also has implications to the council's bulky waste uplift collections. From 1 February the council will be required to collect waste upholstered furniture separately to ensure adherence to the guidelines and to avoid contamination. This service will involve a charge of £45 per item. Damaged, ripped or torn items that may contain POPs must be covered with sheeting and secured with tape prior to collection.

Convener of Renfrewshire Council's Infrastructure, Land and Environment Board, Cllr Michelle Campbell said: "The risk posed by POPs from upholstered furniture is low, but the potential harm increases when it comes to disposing of them. This is why it's important that we follow the guidance set out by SEPA to ensure we are playing our part to reduce any risks to health or the environment by getting rid of these items in the right way.

"I'd encourage anyone looking to discard these items, if not fit for reuse, to visit the Renfrewshire Council website to get the most up to date information on how to safely and correctly dispose of them."

If upholstered furniture items are in good condition and still have their fire safety labels, the council would encourage residents to consider donating them to a local charity shop instead.

Visit our 'What you can dispose of at a household waste recycling centre' section to find out more.