london sofa disposal guide how to dispose of a sofa responsibly reuse recycle

The Ultimate Sofa Disposal Guide for London

18 December 2020

If you live in London and need to rehome or recycle an old sofa - this is the perfect guide for you!  

It covers all of the sofa reuse or disposal options currently available within the M25 area (dear reader, if you know of any others please email us), so you can decide which one works best for you:

  1. Reuse - always the preferred option
  2. Retailer take-back - removal by the retailer selling my new sofa
  3. Civic amenity sites - taking it to the local tip
  4. Council bulky waste collection - using the council service
  5. Man & van - paying a licensed man & van to remove my sofa

 

  1. Reuse - always the preferred option

Up to 1,000,000 sofas are reused in the UK each year. This is about 17% of all sofas that have reached the end of their life.  If your unwanted sofa is still in good condition, clean, not faded or stained, and the springs are decent - then hopefully you’re thinking about reuse rather than disposal. In other words, donating or selling your sofa to somebody else that can use it.

You can reuse by selling or donating your sofa directly to a person or organisation who intends to use it, or indirectly by passing it on to a furniture charity or second-hand dealers who then sells or donates it to a third party. Either way, the sofa will be reused rather than be destroyed.

However, beware that in general, charities and dealers will only take your sofa if it has a FIRE SAFETY certificate. This is because businesses are not legally allowed to sell furniture without a fire label. 

 

sofa fire safety label

 

Selling or donating a sofa can be done either a) offline or b) online. Let's look at each in a bit more detail.

a) Offline Reuse Options

For the less digitally-minded of you, the main ways to pass your sofa on for reuse are:

  • Offering it to friends and family
  • Putting it outside your house with a big sign saying something like ‘Please take me, I’m free’.  Assuming it’s not raining and your neighbours don't accuse you of fly-tipping!
  • Taking it to a local car boot sale - although few
  • Selling it at an auction - although this is really only for antiques
  • Donating to a local furniture charity / social enterprise

 

The following charities in London accept sofa donations:

 

Charity Address Phone
Age UK Unit 21, West 12 Shopping Centre W12 8PP 080 0077 8751
Barnardos 414 Brixton Rd, Brixton, London SW9 7AY 020 7274 4165
BHF (Wandsworth) 153-155 Wandsworth High St, London SW18 4JB 020 8712 5350
British Heart Foundation (Brixton) 36 Acre Ln, Brixton, London SW2 5SP 020 7160 6210
British Red Cross (Battersea) 11-12 Bramlands Cl, Battersea, London SW11 2NT 020 7228 3820
British Red Cross (Fulham) 260 North End Rd, Fulham, London SW6 1NJ 020 738 56071
Cancer Research UK Butterfly Walk, 7, Camberwell Green SE5 8RW 020 7701 2500
DEBRA 17-23 Woolwich Rd, London SE10 0RA 020 8858 5194
Emmaus (Brixton) Fairfax House, Overton Rd, London SW9 7JR 030 0123 2001
Emmaus (Lee High Road shop) 332 Lee High Road Lewisham, London SE13 5PJ 020 8852 5365
Emmaus (Poplar shop) 175 - 179 E India Dock Road Poplar London E14 0EA 0208 854 3426
Emmaus (Plumstead shop) 226 Elmley Street Plumstead London SE18 7NN 0208 854 3426
Oxfam See all London stores 0300 200 1252
PDSA See all London stores 0800 917 2509
The Salvation Army See all London stores 020 7367 4500
Sense See all London stores 0300 330 9257
Shelter 123C King St, Hammersmith, London W6 9LG 020 8563 2388
Sue Ryder 1 Market Pl, Bermondsey, London SE16 3UQ 020 7394 8384
YMCA 214 Elephant and Castle, London SE1 6TE 020 7703 7963

 

Bear in mind that many of these furniture reuse charities are registered as collectors on LoveJunk, so if you’d rather not ring around to arrange a collection - an easier solution is simply to list on LoveJunk and let the nearest available one find you. 

 

old brown leather sofa

b) Online Reuse Options

The major reuse websites are Freegle and Freecycle, eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Nextdoor, Auctioneer (if antique) and of course, yours truly, LoveJunk.  

The big difference between LoveJunk and the other online options is speed. The typical response time to a listing on LoveJunk is less than 3 minutes and same day collection is standard. Needless to say, we strongly recommend you to use LoveJunk.  But hey, if you want to waste a few more hours, please try someone else 🙂

 

2. Retailer take-back - removal by the retailer selling my new sofa

Some retailers will offer to take away and dispose of your old sofa when you buy a new one through them.  Below is a table of costs showing how much the major sofa retailers charge in London to collect your old sofa.  ‘N/A’ means that the retailer does not offer a takeback service.

 

Sofa Retailer Cost Link
DFS £89 https://www.dfs.co.uk/content/sofa-rescue
Furniture Village £55 https://www.furniturevillage.co.uk/furniture-collection-service.html
IKEA £20 https://www.ikea.com/gb/en/customer-service/services/removal-recycling/
John Lewis £45 https://www.johnlewis.com/our-services/home-furnishings
Loaf £45 https://loaf.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005760225-Will-you-remove-my-old-furniture-
Love Sofas N/A N/A
SCS N/A https://www.scs.co.uk/help/delivery/sofa-removal.html
Sofa.com £50 https://www.sofa.com/gb/terms
Sofology £89 https://www.sofology.co.uk/responsibility/product/sofa-recycling

note: n/a means they do not currenly offer a service

 

 

3. Civic amenity sites - taking it to the local tip

Civic amenity sites, otherwise known as Household Waste Recycling Centres or the ‘tip’, accept sofas.  For a list of London’s tips with location, map & opening times, click here.

The biggest issue with taking your sofa to your local HWRC is how you’ll fit your sofa in your car.  Sofas are hard enough to get into your house, let alone out again in one piece.  For this reason, many people choose to use a saw to take the arms off their sofa to fit it into the car and to make it easy to carry.  So, if you definitely know you won’t be needing your sofa again or it’s not in good enough condition for reuse, go ahead and break it up.  Alternatively, you could consider hiring a van. 

 

 

4. Council bulky waste collection - using the council service

Your local council provides its residents a collection service for unwanted bulky items.  

Although relatively cheap (and 5 are actually free of charge!), the major downside to the council bulky waste collection service is speed and convenience.  Many can take weeks to organise and also few collect from within the property.

Below is a table showing how much each London council charges to collect and dispose of a sofa, along with a link the relevant page on their website:

 

London council £ to collect sofa
Richmond upon Thames £60
Hounslow £50
Havering £42
Ealing £40
Harrow £40
Enfield £39
Bexley £36
Barnet £35
Brent £35
Kingston Upon Thames £35
City of London £33
Kensington & Chelsea £33
Sutton £31
Islington £30
Merton £30
Westminster £30
Bromley £28
Hammersmith & Fulham £27
Croydon £25
Haringey £25
Lewisham £20
Wandsworth £19
Southwark £18
Lambeth £16
Hackney £15
Greenwich £10
Barking & Dagenham £10
Camden £10
Hillingdon £0
Newham £0
Redbridge £0
Tower Hamlets £0
Waltham Forest £0

 

 

5. Man and van - paying a licensed man & van to remove my sofa

 

If you don't fancy waiting ages for the council and/or want the sofa collected from inside the property, or maybe have a few other things to go at the same time, then you probably need a man with a van.  

But make sure they are licensed as a waste carrier and properly insured, because it’s an industry renowned for cowboy operators who charge cheaply but then rather than dispose of it properly, just dump your old sofa in a field or layby.  In other words, fly tipping.

Expect to pay between £30-£70 for a collection by a licensed waste carrier in the London and M25 region, depending on the size and weight of your sofa (sofa beds typically cost more because they are so heavy) and also ease of access.

If you’re in London, definitely use the LoveJunk marketplace. You will find your cheapest, licensed collector in seconds and, if your sofa is halfway decent, it will hopefully get reused rather than destroyed as the platform is used by furniture reuse charities and dealers too.

 

Other posts that might be of interest:

 



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