New Waste Industry Legislation for 2023!

From the 1st of January 2023, a new piece of legislation comes into force to safely dispose of any upholstered furniture which has reached the end of its natural life. The legislation applies to both businesses and domestic situations.

From this date, upholstered furniture cannot be safely disposed of in general waste or in landfill sites and should be treated as hazardous waste. 

This means the items cannot be recycled, reused, or repurposed. Instead, these soft furnishings must be safely disposed of through incineration.

So, when you are replacing your old office upholstered furniture or your old sofa (see examples below) your waste disposal company will no longer be able to collect any of these items as part of your general waste.

Why is this necessary?

These types of items have been found to contain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) which are harmful to the environment, wildlife and humans if not disposed of safely. Investigative work carried out by The Environment Agency has identified large quantities of POPs and other hazardous chemicals in the foam of upholstered seating, as well as associated textiles which can come into contact with the foam.

What do businesses, householders and consumers need to do?

From the 1st of January 2023, to safely dispose of upholstered furniture from your business you will now need to contact Cartwrights Waste Disposal to determine the most appropriate method of collection and disposal of the following items:

Sofas Foots Stools
Sofa Beds Office Chairs
Futons Cushions
Bean Bags Bar Stools
Chairs Armchairs


The legislation also includes items of upholstered furniture which contains fabrics such as leather, synthetic leather or fabrics or foam.

According to The Environment Agency, the only unaffected items are:

  1. Items not upholstered (e.g. wooden chairs without any textile or cushioning)
  2. Deckchairs
  3. Mattresses or beds
  4. Curtains or blinds
  5. Items which are known not to contain POPs


You Should:

  1. Assume any item of upholstered furniture may contain POPs, unless it can be demonstrated otherwise 
  2. Segregate any upholstered items from all other types of waste – do not contaminate the other waste types with this material
  3. Where possible remove affected POP materials from non-affected materials
  4. Notify your waste management company of the material to be collected


Your Questions answered:


Is all upholstered furniture affected by this legislation

Many UK manufacturers stopped using POPs in their furniture by 2011 so not all upholstered furniture may be affected. However please read our guidance notes above.

Can I still dispose of POPs furniture in my general waste? 

No; these items will need to be collected separately. If you mix the items with non POP’s it will contaminate the whole load which in turn will mean the whole load must be incinerated as POP’s containing waste.


Further information on POPs and the legislation can be found here:



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