The worst bit is, it’s probably only going to get worse. Everyone’s been stuck at home, so more and more of us have put cold, hard cash into fixing up where we live, removing old sofas in favour of brand-new settees and armchairs for our living rooms. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the environment.
Sofas being thrown away are, more often than not, useful – a lot can be reused, whether it’s because they’re still in decent nick, or can be recycled into something just as useful. It pays to know what you can do with your couch, and if you’re looking into sofa disposal, Divert is here to go over your options.
Not only could you be helping out other people, but you can do good 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!
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 at a fair price, can get rid of any stains that bother you. You’ll save so much money with a comparably cheap one-off payment; it might even be less money than what 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.
Nearly every council in the UK has a bulky waste service, but it varies from place to place. Most councils will charge for the service – you’re looking at anything between £10 and £60 (and more!), depending on where you live. Even more annoyingly, the wait can be a lot longer than you think; sometimes, you could be waiting 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 isn’t any 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 household waste recycling centre (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.
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’re in luck, you can take your sofa to the tip, but you’ll most likely need to take proof of residence, like a utility or council tax bill – councils are being very careful to only serve locals, as the system has been widely abused for years.
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; and
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, and 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.
In any circumstance, a decent man and van sofa collection service is the best way to go, for a few good reasons:
There’s always another way
Everyone knows the phrase “make do and mend”, and 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 £150 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.