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old grey sofa with torn cushion.

Aside from mattresses, there’s nothing the average Brit spends more time on than their sofa. They’re one of the biggest fixtures in everyone’s home, but when they’re not needed anymore – whether it’s because they’re knackered, outdated, or don’t fit with a redecorated room – they get thrown out. Often there’s a big cost to both the owners and the environment.

Disposing of old sofas is becoming a massive problem for the UK’s crowded landfill sites. Of all the things plonked into holes in the ground, sofas take the top spot. One recent estimate put it as high as 15 million cubic metres of landfill space every year – the same as filling Wembley Stadium four times.

Discover your options and how to get rid of an old sofa in a way that’s better for the environment from your home or business with Divert.

How to Get Rid of an Old Sofa

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How to dispose of an old sofa

Sofas being thrown away are often useful. Many can be reused, whether it’s because they’re still in decent nick, can be upcycled, or recycled into something just as useful. It pays to know what you can do with your couch. If you’re getting rid of a sofa, Divert is here to go over your options.

Not only could you help other people, but you can do your bit for the planet – landfill shouldn’t be your only port of call. If anything, all your other options will be better for you and everyone else. These are some of the main options for what to do with an old sofa:

  • Arrange removal with a man and van service
  • Take it to the tip or household waste recycling centre (HWRC)
  • Donate your sofa to a charity shop
  • Give it to a friend or family member
  • Sell it second hand online
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What’s the best way to get rid of an old sofa? 

In any circumstance, using a reliable man and van sofa collection service is the best way to get rid of an old sofa. These are a few good reasons why:

  • They’ll pick your couch up from inside your home, safely and easily – so you don’t have to move it outside
  • It’s often cheaper than a council sofa collection service or paying for a skip
  • Divert ensure sofas are reused or recycled in the best possible way, so you know they’re not going into landfill (though we can’t say the same about other businesses, sadly)
  • There’s every chance you can shift your couch as quickly as the day you want to

What to do with an old couch

Everyone knows the phrase “make do and mend”. Unless your sofa looks like a crater, there’s every chance you can bring it back to life with an upholstery job. There are countless experts out there who’d happily recover your couch for a good price. You might even have friends who’re more than capable of doing it, so long as you throw them a few bob.

Maybe you can reach down the back of the couch to find the money to pay them. Did you know that there’s as much as £10 million in sofas around the UK? Don’t throw away any couch you own until you check for doubloons – but don’t be surprised if you also find food, dirt, dust, the occasional toy (even if you don’t have kids or a dog) – or even a long-lost relative.

When should I get rid of my sofa?

Common times for getting rid of a sofa are when redecorating your living room, moving house, or if it’s experienced lots of wear and tear and even damage. On average, your standard sofa will last between seven and 15 years. Good-quality couches can outlast even the best mattress by five years or more, thanks to modern technology and construction.

If you’re bothered by a few marks, that shouldn’t be a reason to get rid of your couch. Decent cleaning products, or even a specialist cleaner, can get rid of any bothersome stains. You’ll save money with a comparably cheap one-off payment – maybe less than you’d pay for the council to take it off your hands.

A sofa’s life really relies on how good its frame is. If that cracks or breaks, you should replace it. Like beds, a broken couch can provide bad support for your body, meaning every minute spent on a beaten-up sofa could lead to physical problems.

If you’re in this position, or if you simply want to get rid of your couch in favour of a newer, prettier model, there are a lot of options – and it pays to think before you commit.

sofa in front of a picture in a living room.

Will the council collect my sofa?

Nearly every UK council has a bulky waste collection service, which may include collection of old sofas. Most councils charge for the service – anything between £10 and £60 (and more!), depending on where you live. Annoyingly, the wait can be longer than you think – sometimes, you could wait weeks or months to get rid of your old sofa.

To add insult to injury, you’re usually expected to put your sofa outside yourself. There’s not normally in-house collection, and at short notice, you can be asked to put your couch in front of your house at the start of the day the council tells you to.

Even then, you might not have a HWRC available in your area – and if there is, there’s still no guarantee it’ll be taken there, based on demand. There’s every chance your sofa will end up in a council tip, slowly rotting away over the course of hundreds of years.

Can I take my sofa to the tip? 

Many tips in the UK accept sofas and other bulky furniture. Getting the sofa in your car is one thing, but your council accepting it at the tip is another. Since the emergence of HWRCs, it’s not as easy as just rocking up to a tip and flinging it in a massive skip. Rightly so, to be fair – it’s such a waste to do that.

If you’ve got a big enough vehicle, the time and energy to load your old sofa in and out, then you might be able to take your sofa to the tip. You’ll likely need to take proof of residence, like a utility or council tax bill – councils are very careful to only serve locals, as the system has been widely abused for years.

Another potential problem is that some sofas contain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Under the Persistent Organic Pollutants Regulations 2007, any sofas containing POPs must not be sent for reuse, recycling, or to landfill. Instead, they must be incinerated for safety reasons. For any sofas containing POPs you may find your local tip won’t accept them.

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Could I give my couch to charity? 

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If your couch is in good working order and largely free of stains, the best thing to do is to give it to your local charity. However, it must have its fire safety label intact. All charities can only accept donations if the correct fire label is securely attached to each component of the set.

With years of training, they’re like Eagle Eyes Action Man when it comes to detecting if it’s the real deal. The same is true if the sofa contains POPs, as it shouldn’t be reused and must be incinerated. Therefore charities should check the label and may reject your donation if this is the case.

Which charities will collect my old sofa? 

There are a couple of nationwide options Divert recommends for you, should your couch or armchairs be in good working order, and have the relevant fire safety tags:

  • The British Heart Foundation, which offers a free service, subject to demand
  • Reuse Network, which supports over 150 charities nationwide by collecting and distributing furniture around the country

That’s not all. There’s every chance your local council will recommend regional charities for free sofa collection, including those they fund to take on furniture. Divert works with businesses like these to pass on genuinely decent furniture. If you’re looking to save even more money, you can always get it done yourself – freedom from an old sofa might only be a car ride away.

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Can I sell or give my couch away to someone else? 

You’ll be surprised at how unfussy people can be when it comes to second-hand furniture. By using sites like Gumtree or Freecycle, or even eBay (choosing “local collection only” as your delivery option), there’s every chance you can give a sofa away for next to nothing, or even make a tidy sum by putting a smaller price tag on it.

Don’t expect anything close to what you paid for it unless it’s nearly new and immaculate – people have standards. Again, if the sofa contains POPs then you shouldn’t try to sell it or give it away and must arrange proper collection and disposal methods to stay safe.

Should I get a skip for my sofa? 

You can put a sofa in a skip but it’s not advisable. Skips are incredibly expensive for the sake of getting rid of a sofa or two and there’s no guarantee you’ll make them fit below the load line, unless you get a massive one, which might cost you more to rent than to buy a new sofa.

You’ll have to pay for a permit if placing it on the street if you don’t have room on your private property. On top of that, skips are ridiculously bad for the environment. You need a couple of large lorry trips to drop them off and pick them up, and more often than not they go to landfill.

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Where to get rid of a sofa

We offer sofa collection services across Yorkshire for homes and businesses, whether you need to get rid of an old sofa bed, futon, or any type of couch. Find out more about where you can get rid of a sofa with Divert on our local pages:

How do I get rid of my sofa with Divert?

At Divert, we can collect any type, size, and number of old sofas from your home or business with our man and van services. Get a free no obligation quote to get rid of your sofa today and see how we can help – call 0333 444 0118 or contact us online.

One of our purple vans can come out and two or more of our team will remove the sofa from your home. That’s right, there’s no need to cart it outside yourself. Plus, we offer a quick service at a time and date that suits you and all old sofas are diverted away from landfill.

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