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What You Need To Know About POPs Waste

1 min read

What are POPs?

Persistent Organic Pollutants, commonly known as POPs, are toxic organic compounds that don’t break down by natural processes, therefore remaining in the environment for a ridiculously long time. In the media, they’re often referred to as ‘forever chemicals’, which gives you an idea of how harmful they are.

Because of how slowly they break down, they get into the food chain and water supply which leads to a build up of POPs in the environment, animals, and even us. It’s estimated that 98% of humans have POPs in our bodies, so it’s crucial that they’re disposed of correctly to avoid them doing us any more harm.

What items are classed as POPs?

Thankfully, the manufacture, sale and use of products containing POPs is now banned – hurrah! This means that any items made after 2019 shouldn’t contain POPs (but it’s still best to check).

Items that may contain POPs include:

  • Fire-resistant furniture (e.g. sofas, dining room chairs, stools, office chairs, bean bags and sofa cushions)*
  • Waterproof clothing
  • Non-stick kitchenware
  • Stain-resistant carpets
  • Office WEEE (e.g. printers and photocopiers)
  • Cables
  • LCD screens
  • Printed circuit boards

*Items that are not upholstered (e.g. a wooden chair without a cushioned or textile additions) are unlikely to contain POPs.

You can find more info on items containing POPs on the website here. Please note that it’s your responsibility to find out if the waste you produce contains POPs or not.

How is POPs waste disposed of?

The Environment Agency introduced new regulations on January 1st 2023, stating that POPs waste can no longer be disposed of in landfill. Instead, homes and businesses must ensure that all POPs waste is managed, removed and disposed of safely and in line with this legislation. This means POPs waste should not go in your skips or FELs etc. and should be disposed of separately from all other waste.

Before disposing of your items, think if there’s any way they could be reused first. Could you upcycle your chairs, give them away to local charities or list them on an online marketplace?

If they’re past that point, get in touch with a trusted waste collection service like Gegan. We’ll dispose of your POPs waste safely and responsibly, with as little impact on the environment and as little hassle to you as possible.

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