Will the Council collect my old Sofa?

For many people, once the Christmas decorations have been packed away and the January sales are over it’s time to start thinking about getting rid of that old sofa or broken armchair—but do you know how to dispose of your unwanted furniture?

Over the years, more and more councils have begun to offer a bulky waste collection service free of charge. If your council offers this service it will normally be provided once every six months.

This means every resident in council taxpayers in your area can take advantage at no extra cost to them—and they still receive their weekly recycling collections free of additional charge.

A number of councils operate a system

Where residents are only allowed one bulky waste collection each year; if you need a second collection, a charge is made for further visits—but you must normally have taken part in a collection within the last 12 months first.

If your local council provides bulky waste collections, it will make the arrangements in advance through your householder’s newsletter or on other channels used by the council to communicate with residents.

This system works very well in most areas where it has been tried because:

  • It allows more frequent bin collections which mean fewer smells and more neighborhood cleanliness.
  • The overall cost of collecting bulky items is reduced as some households are only asked to provide one item to their bulky waste collection rather than many items every week; this also means that fewer vehicles need to be used for servicing each street.
  • There’s less and less storage space for bulky items each year in council’s stores. So when your item is collected, it will be taken to the tip and recycled or reused instead of being stored or thrown away.
  • All households are given an equal opportunity to present their bulky waste for collection (rather than some items being left outside waiting for a new bin collection).
  • It’s much easier for residents who can’t wait until their weekly bin day to place all their bulky waste onto the street – they can do this as many times as necessary.
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The new scheme does cause some concern though:

  • Most people don’t think about what happens after the truck comes along… remember that there may not always be someone able to use the item you trying to recycle.
  • Items that are too big, bulky, or damaged will not be able to be collected and so may end up in landfills after all.
  • As collection days move around from fortnightly to monthly, some households still don’t know when their new collections will take place.
  • It is difficult to measure the amount of waste that gets diverted from landfills due to the different ways people might deal with it independently of council services.

However, we can do our best by recycling as much as possible at home and taking advantage of other services like round-ups for usable donations.


Many councils have a free green waste service that removes lawn clippings, prunings, and garden waste (e.g. leaves, branches, and bark).

  • The best way to get rid of household furniture is to donate it: a local charity or perhaps your church will be glad to take it off your hands for you.

So, if you want a straight answer about Will the Council collect my old Sofa? Then it’s YES.

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