Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Guidance

From 1st January 2023 new legislation from the Environment Agency came into effect regarding the storage and disposal of waste upholstered domestic seating containing Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). POPs are poisonous chemical substances that break down slowly and get into food chains as a result. From 1st January 2023 this waste cannot be disposed of in landfill and is required to be incinerated.

In the past POPs were used in various products including pesticides and industrial chemicals, and released during chemical and agricultural processes. The manufacture, sale and use of products containing POPs is now banned.

For further details on the POPs guidance and legislation, please visit the website here (external link)


What items contain POPs?

Waste domestic seating is any item of seating of a household type from households or businesses that is waste. Upholstered domestic seating may contain POPs. For example:

  • Sofas
  • Sofa beds
  • Armchairs
  • Kitchen and dining room chairs
  • Stools and foot stools
  • Home office chairs
  • Futons
  • Bean bags, floor and sofa cushions

This includes any part made of or containing leather, synthetic leather, other fabric, or foam.


The following items of domestic seating are unlikely to contain POPs:

  • Items that are not upholstered, for example, a wooden chair without a cushioned or textile back, seat, or arms
  • Deckchairs
  • Wastes from manufacturing new domestic seating that the manufacturer can demonstrate do not to contain POPs

Mattresses, curtains, blinds and beds are not domestic seating and are not covered by this guidance.

For further details visit here (external link).


POPs may also be found in waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), this may include

  • Office equipment – non-household type such as photocopiers and printers
  • Printed circuit boards
  • Cables and granulated cable plastics
  • Plastic cases from, display devices (flat panel displays and cathode ray tubes)

For more details on WEEE that may contain POPs please visit by clicking here (external link)


How does this affect the council's waste management?

As a collection authority this legislation affects the way West Lancashire Borough Council collects and stores materials that may contain POPs. Changes have been implemented to the way our waste streams that may contain POPs are collected from residents and businesses. Changes have also been made to the way this waste is stored at the Waste Transfer Station before being collected by Lancashire Renewables.

Lancashire Renewables have put their own changes in place to ensure the safe disposal and incineration of waste that may contain POPs at their sites.


How does this affect my bulky waste collections?

Bulky waste collections will still take place as normal, however residents should do the following when requesting a bulky waste collection:

  • Please cover any items that may contain POPs that are damaged, ripped or torn with sheeting or tarp and secure with tape. Please note, any items that are not securely covered will not be collected.
  • Please present items that may contain POPs separate from other items you may present for bulky waste collection (i.e., not touching).
  • If you are uncertain whether an item may contain POPs, please securely cover any damage to the item and present it for collection separately.


How does this affect how I dispose of waste?

If disposing of waste via the council's bulky waste collection service, please follow the guidance outlined above.

Residents should not dispose of any items that may contain POPs in their grey general waste bin, or in their blue or green recycling bins. If you suspect that an item may contain POPs, please dispose of this via the council's bulky waste collection service, or at a Lancashire County Council Household Waste Recycling Centre. See the list above of items that may contain POPs.


How does this affect trade waste customers?

Trade waste customers should not dispose of any items that may contain POPs in their trade waste bins. See the list above of items that may contain POPs.