How to Dispose of a Sofa
5 Ways to Dispose of your Old Sofa
Do you need to get rid of an old couch, sofa or sofa bed? Here are the 5 options of how to dispose of a sofa.
- Donate or sell
- Take it to the local tip
- Council collection
- Pay a licensed waste collector
- Collection by a sofa retailer
Donate (or sell) your sofa
An estimated 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 donate or sell your sofa directly to someone or indirectly by passing it on to a furniture reuse charity or second-hand dealer who then resells or donates it to someone else. Either way, the sofa will be reused rather than be destroyed.
However, beware that 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.
Selling or donating your old sofa can be done offline or online. Let's look at each in a bit more detail.
a) Offline options for sofa reuse
For the less digitally-minded of you, the main ways to donate or selling your sofa 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 major charities accept sofa donations:
|Age UK||080 0077 8751|
|Barnardos||020 7274 4165|
|British Heart Foundation||020 7160 6210|
|British Red Cross||020 7228 3820|
|Cancer Research UK||020 7701 2500|
|Emmaus||030 0123 2001|
|Oxfam||0300 200 1252|
|PDSA||0800 917 2509|
|The Salvation Army||020 7367 4500|
|Sense||0300 330 9257|
|Shelter||020 8563 2388|
|Sue Ryder||020 7394 8384|
Bear in mind that several of these furniture reuse charities are registered as collectors on the LoveJunk junk removal and reuse marketplace (see below). So, if you’d rather not ring around to arrange a collection, an easier solution is to list on LoveJunk and let the nearest available one find you.
b) Online options for donating sofas
The major reuse websites are Freegle, Freecycle, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, Auctioneer (if antique) and LoveJunk. The big difference between LoveJunk and the other online options is LoveJunk also has waste collectors on it. So, even if noone is interested in taking your sofa for free, you will still get lots of quotes from waste companies to take it away.
2. Take it to the local tip
Council civic amenity sites, otherwise known as Household Waste Recycling Centres or your ‘local tip’, accept old sofas. You can find their address and opening hours by contacting your local council. 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 cut 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. However, bear in mind that several council tips don't allow vans access!
3. Council collection
The council provides residents a collection service for unwanted bulky items, including sofas and sofa beds. Price varies from free to £75. Although relatively cheap, the major downside to the council bulky waste collection service is speed and convenience. Many take weeks to come and also very few collect from within the property.
Below is a table showing how much each London council charges to collect and dispose of a sofa.
4. Pay a licensed waste collector to take it away
If you don't fancy waiting for the council, would like the sofa collected from inside your property, or maybe have a few other things to dispose of at the same time, then you will need a waste collector.
But make sure they are licensed as a waste carrier and properly insured. Bulky waste collection is an industry renowned for cowboy operators who charge cheaply only to dump your old sofa illegally in a field or layby. In other words, fly tipping.
Use LoveJunk marketplace to get quotes from and compare customer ratings of licensed waste carriers. The typical charge for collection and disposal of a sofa that cannot be reused is £50 - £120 (the average is £75). Price varies according to the size and weight of your sofa (sofa beds typically cost more because they are so heavy), collection urgency, and also ease of access.
To browse 100s of priced examples go to LoveJunk's gallery of sofa removal jobs at https://www.lovejunk.com/gallery/sofa-removal-and-reuse. There are also several examples if you scroll down to the bottom of this article.
5. Pay your new sofa retailer to take it away
Some furniture retailers offer a take-back service for your old sofa when you buy a new one from them. The table belows shows which retailers offer this service and how much they charge. ‘N/A’ means the retailer does not offer the service. Prices range from £80 to £149. Dunelm charges £80 to remove a 2 seater sofa. Whereas DFS tops the pops of prices with a whopping £129!
|Sofa Retailer||2 seater sofa||3 seater sofa||Sofa bed|
|Marks & Spencer||N/A||N/A||N/A|
source: LoveJunk 2023
POP legislation affected sofa disposal prices significantly
Sofa collection prices increased materially because of January 2023 changes in POP legislation. These new regulations require upholstered furniture to be taken to a waste to energy facility rather than landfilled or broken down for recycling. This creates higher disposal costs, which feed through to higher collection charges.
Examples of sofa removal jobs
Here are some examples of colleciton jobs that involved the removal of an old sofa or sofa bed.
Thank you for reading this guide, we hope you found it useful. Here are some other articles that you may find interesting.
- What to do if you have too much rubbish in your wheelie bin
- Everything you need to know about council bulky waste collection