Waste rule changes ‘could lead to sofa mountains’

Without funding to invest in new equipment and infrastructure, efforts to avoid ‘sofa mountains’ and comply with the new rules risk being undermined, it adds.

New Environment Agency rules will force councils to treat waste sofas differently from other items, including separating how they are collected, processed in waste centres, shredded, and incinerated. This is because the majority have been made using hazardous ‘persistent organic pollutants’ (POPs), which can be harmful if not disposed of properly.

The LGA predicts that meeting these rules will cost councils hundreds of millions of pounds, at a time when they face ongoing funding pressures and almost half (43 per cent) are already having to cut waste and recycling services in 2024/25 to balance the books. 

In the long term, councils are calling for manufacturers to meet the full costs of processing waste items containing POPs, and for improved transparency on, and reduced use of, chemicals in products. 

Cllr Darren Rodwell, the LGA’s Environment Spokesperson, said: “Waste and recycling is a doorstep service reaching every one of our residents. 

“Satisfaction with local waste services remains consistently high, which is a source of pride for local government and that we work hard to achieve. 

“It is crucial that councils get the support needed to comply with these regulations, or there is a risk of further cuts to waste services as councils work to avoid the buildup of waste ‘sofa mountains’.”


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