DEFRA releases results of study into POPs in domestic upholstery waste
The government (DEFRA) has circulated the results of a study into whether chemicals listed as Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are likely to be found in the domestic seating waste stream. The British Furniture Confederation (BFC), represented by technical personnel from FIRA, NBF and the BFM, sat on the working group to represent the furniture manufacturing sector.
One of the main chemicals that was historically used in back coatings for upholstery fabric was Deca BDE which was banned from use in new products and listed as a POP in 2019. The study has shown that these POPs were found to be present in samples taken from the waste stream and often above legal limits for waste, which means they must be destroyed in a specific manner and cannot be recycled.
It is important to stress that it is only upholstery at the end of life and classified as waste that is impacted.
DEFRA has stated it will be working closely with the waste industry and others affected on how to respond to the results of this study and its implications.
Meanwhile the BFC has prepared a guidance note to help answer any questions arising from the study, which can be accessed here.