Hampshire residents wanting to dispose of upholstered seating at their local household waste recycling centre (HWRC) will now have to use a separate container – or travel to a new HWRC altogether.

The changes have been introduced from January 1 because of the national requirement for all waste upholstered domestic seating to be separated from other waste and safely disposed of by incineration, in line with Environment Agency guidance.

Of Hampshire’s 24 HWRCs, 21 will now provide separate containers in which waste upholstered seating will be collected.

However, because of the smaller size of the facilities at Hayling Island, Hartley Wintney and New Alresford HWRCs, a separate container cannot be accommodated so residents will be directed to their nearest alternative larger household waste recycling centre.

Hampshire County Council cabinet member, Councillor Nick Adams-King, explained: “Most residents will see little change other than their upholstered seating waste placed into a separate container at the household waste recycling centre.

"As items of upholstered seating furniture such as dining chairs, armchairs and sofas are likely to contain pollutants which stay intact and do not break down, we are required by law to ensure these items are diverted from landfill, separated from other waste and disposed of carefully at one of our energy recovery facilities.

"This means that they will be incinerated to generate electricity. We also ask that residents avoid breaking up upholstered domestic seating, as this increases the potential for material to escape into the environment - please ensure any loose material, such as coverings, is bagged for disposal at an HWRC.”

He added: “Of course, we would encourage residents to first consider offering suitable items of upholstered seating furniture for reuse by donating to charity, privately selling on or reusing wherever possible.”

The range of upholstered seating items which now need to be segregated for specialist disposal includes: sofas; sofa beds; armchairs; kitchen and dining room chairs; stools and foot stools that are upholstered; home office chairs; futons; bean bags; floor and sofa cushions.

Many local borough, city and district councils offer, for a fee, a bulky waste collection service which residents can use as an alternative to taking items themselves to a household waste recycling centre. Residents can check which council is their local waste collection authority on the gov.uk website.

More information and advice can be found on the waste prevention and recycling pages on the county council’s website.