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Sunday, July 21, 2024

Important Changes to Storage & Disposal of Upholstered Domestic Seating at Household Waste Recycling Centres

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Following new guidance announced by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), The Highland Council must make changes to the way it stores and disposes of upholstered domestic seating containing Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)at Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).

Items classed as upholstered domestic seating are settees, sofas, sofa beds, armchairs, including electric reclining chairs, home office chairs, upholstered kitchen and dining room chairs, futons and pouffes, upholstered stools and footstools, beanbags, floor, and sofa cushions.

From 8 January 2024, upholstered domestic seating will go into a separate container at larger Household Waste Recycling Centres.

Clear signage will indicate which container these items should go in and site staff will direct the public to the appropriate container.

As the guidance requires changes to be made at the HWRCs, subsequently some of the Council’s smaller HWRCs do not have the capacity for separate container facilities and from 15 January 2024, will stop accepting these items.

The HWRCs not accepting upholstered domestic furniture are Grantown, Kingussie, Ullapool, Tain, Bonar Bridge, Lochinver, Tongue, Durness and Kilchoan.

When taking upholstered domestic furniture to a HWRC it is important to check the Council’s website to ensure the which sites accept these items.

The new guidance relates to Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

These are chemical substances that are known to stay intact and do not break down.

Waste containing these can have a harmful impact on human health and the wider environment if they are not managed responsibly.

The potential for pollution and harm to the environment from POPs increases at the waste management and disposal stage when the items become broken up or damaged ahead of disposal.

Therefore, waste upholstered domestic seating needs to be collected separately from other furniture.

It will be sent to energy recovery facilities where it will be safely burnt to generate electricity.

This ensures the chemicals are destroyed or transformed so they cannot be released into the wider environment.

Councillor Graham Mackenzie, Chair of Communities and Place Committee would like to reassure the public about POPs in their homes:

“The risk of exposure to POPs from upholstered furniture is low.

“Any risk can be greatly reduced by repairing rips and tears as soon as possible.”

He added:

“The potential for pollution and harm increases at the waste disposal stage when furniture is broken up for disposal.

“Please try to avoid breaking up furniture that is being taken to Household Waste Recycling Centres.”

The Highland Council supports reuse of good quality furniture as the preferable option for disposal wherever possible.

Charities will still be able to accept furniture in good condition for reuse, provided the items meet conditions set out in the guidance to ensure they are suitable for reuse.

The Council can still collect unwanted upholstered domestic furniture through the Bulky Uplift Service.

The way the Council collects bulky uplifts complies with the legislation.

Damaged, ripped or torn items that may contain POPs must be covered with sheeting and secured with tape prior to collection.

For further information on the storage and disposal of upholstered domestic seating and Persistent Organic Pollutants please visit www.highland.gov.uk/recycle or email recycle@highland.gov.uk 

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