Changes to guidance on the management and disposal of items containing persistent organic pollutants (POPs)


The new compliance requirements on items containing persistent organic pollutants (POPs) were introduced in December 2022 and take effect between now and December 2024. The legislative basis for the management of POPs was established in 2007 in the ‘Persistent Organic Pollutant Regulations 2007’.

What are POPs?

POPs are chemicals often used as flame retardants and were highly prevalent in seating units that contain textiles, foams and other padding types prior to 2019. The compliance guidance issued relates to seating from domestic and business sources and includes upholstered items such as:

  • Desk chairs
  • Dining chairs
  • Kitchen chairs
  • Sofas
  • Sofa beds and futons
  • Foot stools
  • Armchairs
  • Beanbags
  • Floor cushions

Currently the compliance guidance does not apply to beds and mattresses, carpets and seating that is not upholstered.

How to ensure your compliance?

  • The new compliance guidance requires the waste producer (our customers) and their service provider (SUEZ) to ensure the following:
  • The waste producer identifies1 wastes they produce that they do or are likely to contain POPs.
  • The waste producer should take all reasonable efforts to avoid contamination of wastes not containing POPs by those that do.
  • The waste carrier takes POPs identified wastes to incineration only. (Landfilling and recycling of these wastes is prohibited).
  • The waste carrier is required to put in place separation and pre-treatment systems for POPs contaminated wastes by no later than December 2024.
  • In collecting and managing waste, the waste carrier should not allow the contamination of non-POPs containing waste by those waste that have been identified as POPs containing.
  • Both waste producer and waste carrier are required to prevent damage to POPs contaminated items in presentation, collection and management.

If wastes destined for regular collections are identified as containing POPs contaminated materials, they may not be collected at that time, and you may incur additional costs in arranging new collections and treatment.

How can SUEZ help?

  • Our teams of experts and local teams are helping our customers to understand these new obligations under these updated compliance guidance requirements.
  • SUEZ teams are helping customers to ensure minimum disruption to scheduled waste collection.
  • We are currently making changes to our facilities and/or procedures to ensure that SUEZ handles POPs waste in full compliance during the transitional period and to meet the transitional deadlines of December 2024. These work streams are designed to ensure your peace of mind, no disruption to your current collection or disposal services and to provide the new services required to keep you compliant in the future. For some items that contain POPs, but which can be given a second life through re-use and where you have not discarded them, these new controls potentially allow them to go to re-use and not incineration.

For more information regarding this change in law please visit:

1As a business, you are responsible under section 34(7) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (The EPA) you have a duty of care to know the nature of the waste you produce and to adequately describe it to your service providers such that they can manage it appropriately and safely.