If you are planning a new look to your home and consequently need to get rid of some old furniture, you need to be aware of new guidance from the Environment Agency before you take it to a recycling centre in Dorset.
Dorset Council must treat upholstered furniture differently when it is being disposed of from now on.
Waste Upholstered Domestic Seating – mainly furniture with cushions and/or fabric – is often treated with fire-retardant chemicals known as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). These chemicals have not been used since 2019 but can remain intact in the environment for a long time if not dealt with properly, and need to be incinerated safely.
This means that all Waste Upholstered Domestic Seating will be separated from other waste types at the Dorset Council household recycling centres (HRCs) from now on, with a separate skip for these items.
Residents using the HRCs may see the following being set aside – sofas, sofa beds, armchairs, kitchen and dining room chairs, stools and foot stools, home office chairs, futons, bean bags and floor and sofa cushions.
All these items can still be dropped off at any of the Dorset Council 10 sites free of charge. Visitors to the HRCs can help by following on-site guidance on where to place their waste and speaking to on-site staff if they have any questions.
The new rules only apply to furniture when it is being disposed of, and the council strongly encourages everyone to consider whether their old items can be sold or donated for reuse instead of being thrown away.
If your furniture cannot be reused and you’re looking to pay someone for its removal and disposal, the council urges you to ensure you are handing your items to a licensed waste carrier. Always ask how your rubbish will be disposed of and get an invoice or receipt for the waste they’re taking, including their contact details. If someone – such as an unlicensed ‘man in a van’ found online – were to fly-tip your furniture, you could end up paying a fine or being taken to court.
Cllr Laura Beddow, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for Culture, Communities and Customer Services, said: “Some of our recycling centre visitors may be puzzled as to why we are now separating upholstered furniture in this way. So, we wanted to assure everyone that we’ve pre-empted the new rules by coming up with a cost-effective solution to remove these chemicals from our environment with minimal disruption to our residents.
“The basic principles remain the same; If your old furniture cannot be reused, please bring it to a household recycling centre where it will be safely disposed of free of charge. If you need someone to dispose of it for you, be very careful who you are handing it to.
“You can find more information on keeping yourself covered when handing your waste to someone else at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/scrap.”
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