sofa with text 'how to dispose of a sofa'

How to Dispose of a Sofa

13 September 2023

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.

  1. Donate or sell 
  2. Take it to the local tip
  3. Council collection 
  4. Pay a licensed waste collector
  5. Collection by a sofa retailer

 

  1. 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. 

 

sofa fire safety 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:

 

Charity Phone
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. 

 

old brown leather sofa

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. Check out our handy list of London rubbish tips with a map & opening times of all London HWRCs. 

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.

London council Charge
Richmond £71
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

 

 

 

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 2 seater sofa that cannot be reused is £50 - £120 (the average is £63).  Price varies according to the size and weight of your sofa (sofa beds and 3 seater sofas 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 reuse 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 £150. 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
Argos N/A N/A N/A
DFS £129 £129 £129
Dunelm £80 £90 £140
Furniture Village £90 £100 £150
Heals £90 £100 £150
IKEA N/A N/A N/A
John Lewis £45 £45 £45
Loaf £89 £89 £89
Next £90 £100 £150
SCS £90 £100 £150
Sofa.com £99 £99 £99
Sofology £129 £129 £129
Swyft £90 £100 £150
The Range N/A N/A N/A
Wayfair 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 collection jobs that involved the removal of an old sofa or sofa bed.

 

Sofa bed + cushions, £35

Corner sofa, £0

2 seater, £70

Corner sofa, £0

Large sofa, £110

Sofa bed, £0

Three-seater sofa, £50

Chesterfield armchair, £40

Large IKEA sofa, £0

Chesterfield sofa, £0

3 seater, £50

2 seater couch, £45

Red leather sofa, £40

L-shape sofa bed, £50

Armchair, £25

Small two-seater sofa, £40

Leather sofa, £45

Brown sofa, £0

Thank you for reading our guide to how to dispose of a sofa, we hope you found it useful. Here are some other articles that you may find interesting.

 



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