Top of the pops!

Rebecca Best
July 11, 2023

Not to be confused with the popular TV program that aired for nearly 40 years, this week we take a deep dive into Persistent Organic Pollutants or POPs, as otherwise known. We’ll explore the top items containing POPs and provide advice on disposal.

POPs were in the news at the beginning of this year due to new guidance stating that these items can no longer be recycled or accepted at landfills. Instead, they must be incinerated. Following the new regulations, the manufacture, sale, and use of anything containing POPs have now been banned in the UK.

The “top” items containing POPs include:

  • Sofas
  • Sofa beds
  • Armchairs
  • Kitchen and dining room chairs
  • Stools and footstools
  • Home office chairs
  • Futons
  • Bean bags and sofa cushions

The following items of domestic seating are unlikely to contain POPs:

  • Deckchairs
  • Wastes from manufacturing new domestic seating that the manufacturer can demonstrate do not contain POPs
  • Items that are not upholstered, such as wooden chairs without cushioned or textile back, seat, or arms

Please note that mattresses, curtains, blinds, and beds are not considered domestic seating and are not covered by this guidance.

What are POPs?

POPs are dangerous chemical substances that do not break down in the environment and can be harmful to human health and nature. Since these pollutants are difficult to break down, they can continue to travel when exposed to air or water. POPs include a wide range of organic compounds, such as pesticides, industrial chemicals, and unintentional by-products of industrial processes.

Some examples of POPs are:

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): Widely used as coolants and insulating fluids in electrical equipment, but their production was phased out due to their harmful effects on human health and the environment.

Dioxins: Unintentional by-products of industrial processes involving chlorine, such as waste incineration and certain chemical manufacturing processes. Dioxins are highly toxic and can cause a variety of adverse health effects.

Furans: Similar to dioxins, furans are unintentional by-products of industrial processes involving chlorine. They have similar toxic properties and can cause various health problems.

Pesticides: Several pesticides, such as organochlorine pesticides like dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), chlordane, and hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), are classified as POPs. These pesticides were widely used in the past but have been banned or restricted due to their persistence and toxicity.

POP’s disposal

Disposing of waste containing POPs can be challenging. It must be treated separately and segregated from general waste, and it will not be accepted at landfills. Proper disposal can only take place at licensed sites that have the facilities, expertise, and technology to handle and dispose of POPs waste correctly.

Finding an authorized site can be difficult, as there are not many available. Using a waste management business can save time and the hassle of calling around to find a site that will accept the waste. Site Solutions, for example, can take care of this for you. They are well-equipped with the knowledge and accredited contacts to handle the disposal of waste containing POPs.

If you have any queries regarding specialist waste disposal, such as waste containing POPs, get in touch with a member of the team today.

See how we can help you

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