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  • Writer's pictureThe Optimum team

How green is your sofa?

POPs: the good, the bad and the ugly truth:

Understanding what they are and why we charge more to dispose of them…

A seemingly charming term, POPs are actually ‘Persistent Organic Pollutants’ so they’re not as friendly as they sound.

POPs are quite commonplace in our homes and workplaces – often found in sofas, upholstered chairs, cushions and other soft furnishings. Chances are your sofa isn’t very green at all.

As a nation we used to dispose of POPs through the usual landfill route which meant there was a real danger they’d end up in our soils and waterways. Both the immediate and longer term effects of POPs led The Environment Agency to rethink this.

The good news for the environment (and therefore us all) is that POPs can no longer be disposed of in the traditional manner. The Environment Agency changed the regulations and now anything containing POPs must go through incineration at special sites - such as a ‘waste to energy’ plant. Anything POPs related can’t go in a skip either. This legislation leads to one solution – and that’s compliant waste carriers who know what’s required.

All POPs items that we collect from homes and offices are transported to a commercial waste transfer station. At the site these materials are separated out from other waste streams. Once isolated, they are taken to the waste to energy plant to be used as a fuel to generate energy.

The high temperature of this type of incineration destroys the chemicals and removes the risk of environmental contamination. This is positive for us all – people, animals, nature – as it removes potentially harmful toxins from our lives.

The bad news is, you guessed it, that this costs us all more. As compliant, licensed waste carriers we will only take POPs items through the correct channels. Different handling and processing has resulted in extra costs which are passed on to us and to you, the customer.

It’s tough that making good decisions for the environment costs us more. But at least these kinds of pollutants have been recognised and their effects taken seriously enough to warrant a new approach.

The ugly truth is that we’re fighting a daily battle against unscrupulous, unlicensed fly-tippers who are knowingly dumping waste illegally. They get the work because they charge so little and then go on to pollute the environment in the very worst way possible. And that’s a rant for another day!

If you have any questions please feel free to get in touch on 01223 901107 or email Adam Clover at

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