Couch removal, disposal, and recycling
The Most Complete Guide to Proper Couch Disposal and Understanding Your Options
You need to get rid of your old, unwanted couch because you’re upgrading to a new one. You’re probably thinking of simply dumping your old couch and being done with it. You could take your chances sitting your used sofa on the curb and hoping the trash will pick it up, but you’ll likely not be so lucky and could even be fined.
Well, your luck has changed, because you have found the ultimate guide to proper couch disposal, including 7 earth-friendly ways to get rid of your unwanted couch.
Introduction to Couch Disposal
Your old couch probably is a lot heavier and bulkier than your new couch. You will most likely need to find someone to help you haul your old, heavy couch across town. If you don’t have access to a truck, then you may need to rent one. However, most rental companies won’t let you use their equipment to haul things to the dump. If you’re lucky enough to find a truck you can use, you will need to find somewhere to dump the old couch. If your local landfill or transfer station will accept your couch, you’ll have to pay a hefty fee to dump it there.
This is why we have gathered some helpful pointers to guide you through tackling couch disposal in an up-to-date, simple, and eco-friendly manner at an affordable price. First, you will need to determine your couch’s condition.
Assessing Couch Condition
There are quite a few different options available for couch disposal methods. Which of these options is best for you largely depends on whether the couch is in usable condition, the quality of the condition it is in, and what materials the couch is made of. Before disposing of your couch, you need to assess its condition.
Judge Comfort and Durability
If you are noticing that your couch cushions are sagging and no longer support you, you will need to think about whether they can be recovered or if they need to be replaced. Try squeezing the cushions and padded parts of the couch. If there isn’t much resistance, then they are poor quality foam and need to be replaced.
Examine Wear and Tear
Think about the quality of the fabric that the couch is upholstered with. If there are small spots or stains, try cleaning them with a gentle stain remover. If the upholstery is faded or threadbare, the couch will need to be reupholstered.
Estimate Age and Quality
Antique couches are generally able to be refurbished, as they tend to be made with high-quality materials and craftsmanship. The maximum lifespan of the average couch is around 7 years. Couches sold in chain stores tend to be made with cheap materials such as particleboard and low-grade foam which wear out more quickly.
Check for Structural Integrity
If the frame squeaks or cracks when you sit down or move, this is one of the signs that the couch structure is wearing out. Check to see what the frame is made of. If it is made of a sturdy hardwood and contains tightly coiled metal springs that are secured with twine, then it can be used for many years to come.
Look for Health Hazards
Flip your couch over and check inside to make sure there are no animal droppings or insects such as bed bugs inside. Critters can be very good at hiding, and your sofa may have been infested without you knowing it. You’ll also want to examine the stuffing and upholstery for any signs of mold or mildew.
OPTION 1: Donate to Charity
If after assessing the condition of your old couch you confirm that it is still in good shape, you probably want to try donating it to a local charity. Many organizations will clean and refurbish gently used furniture items and give them to families in need who have been affected by natural disasters or financial hardship. If a local charity doesn’t have anyone in need of a couch at the time you try to donate it, they may not be able to accept it. Other organizations such as Goodwill and Salvation Army will accept the couch and resell it, with the proceeds going to fund their work in the community. When you donate your used sofa, you can feel good knowing that you are helping people in your community and keeping waste out of the landfill.
Nationwide Charities Accepting Couch Donations
Goodwill accepts donations of used furniture and other household items. Some Goodwill locations offer pickup of donated items.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army has many local drop-off locations for donations of gently used furniture such as sofas and ottomans.
Habitat for Humanity
Many Habitat for Humanity ReStore locations accept donations of used furniture in like-new condition. Some even offer pickup of donations.
Furniture Bank Assoc.
You’ll need to contact your local Furniture Bank to find out if they can accept your used couch and where to drop it off.
OPTION 2: Recycle Your Couch
Due to their size and the amount of wear and tear, sofas are usually sent to the dump when it’s time to move or downsize. Sadly, many people don’t think about what happens to their couch after it’s thrown away. An average couch can weigh anywhere from 100 to 300 pounds. Each couch equals about 2 yards of waste. When you factor in the hundreds to thousands of sofas sent to the landfill every year, that makes for a significant impact on the amount of trash that gets dumped and the environmental impact it has.
Many sofas contain hazardous chemicals such as formaldehyde and cancer-causing flame retardants. When bulky items such as sofas and recliners are dumped, these chemicals seep into the ground and contaminate the soil and water supply. Small amounts then make their way into our food and tap water. These chemicals can cause illnesses such as kidney and liver cancer.
Many new couches are no longer made with these chemicals, but most being thrown away today do still contain them.
You can help create a safer earth by simply recycling your couch! Do your part to safely recycle your old, used and unwanted sofa. Then give yourself a round of applause!
City Recycling Programs
With landfill overcrowding and greater awareness of environmental issues in recent years, many cities across the United States have enacted eco-friendly programs to reduce energy consumption and waste. Many of these cities, even cities without any environmental programs, now host state-of-the-art recycling centers.
For a fee, some of these programs will offer to pick up your old couch for recycling. However, most require that you haul the couch to the transfer station and drop it off yourself. You’ll want to be sure and call your local recycling center to confirm they will pick it up before dragging your sofa to the curb.
Couch Items Not Recyclable:
- Furniture that is waterlogged
- Furniture infested with bedbugs
- Sofa, chair, or loveseat slipcovers
- Items with elastic “springs”
- Items with plastic framing
- Poly-fill cushions
- Foam core cushions
- Throw pillows or blankets
- Sleeper sofa mattresses
- Futon mattresses
OPTION 3: Sell Your Couch
How is a used couch like a used car? Even if it’s got a lot of miles on it, as long as it’s still in good condition, you can try to sell it. We could all use a little extra cash, and you could even use the money you make on your old couch to help pay for a new one. There are a few ways you can go about trying to sell your used sofa. They’re pretty easy but will require some work on your end.
Craigslist works a lot like the classified section in your local newspaper. You can list your used couch for sale in the furniture section of your city’s Craigslist page. Those who are interested in buying it can contact you directly through the website. This free service is for in-town buying and selling, so you will probably want to meet the person buying your old couch in a public area rather than having them come to your home to pick it up.
OfferUp is a mobile app that works a lot like Craigslist. There are no selling fees or shipping costs, but you will have to make the exchange face-to-face. A great advantage to using this app to sell your old couch is that buyers and sellers are able to review one another, so you’ll be able to see if the person buying your sofa tends to be a good, trustworthy customer.
Facebook Marketplace is another great way to sell your used couch. On Marketplace, you can find local people looking to buy a couch for less than a new one. You can also make the post public so it will be seen by others in your area. You’ll have a better chance of selling your sofa if you keep the price low, upload a nice photo of it, and quickly respond to any messages.
Many times, people have a hard time selling their used items for a price that makes sense to them. If you find this is the case when trying to sell your used sofa, try lowering the price. If you just don’t have any luck finding someone to sell or donate your sofa to, your best bet may just be to hire a junk removal company.
OPTION 4: Give Your Couch Away
This option is similar to donating your used couch, you just won’t be able to claim it on your taxes. You can usually find someone who is in the market for a new sofa but who doesn’t want to spend a fortune. These folks are usually more than happy to deal with the hassle of picking up your used couch if they’re not having to pay anything for it.
Help a Student
Post flyers around college campuses. College students are always in need of furniture and don’t really care what it looks like as long as it’s free. They may know someone who is in need of a gently used sofa to get them through until they get established and can afford a brand new sofa of their very own. If you have any other furniture to get rid of, they’ll likely take that too.
Keep It in the Family
Send out an email or text message to your friends and family. If none of them are looking for a new-to-them couch, they probably know someone who is. People who know you well and trust you are more likely to accept and pick up your used furniture items. Plus, you can use this as a way to visit and catch up with loved ones you haven’t seen in a while!
Boost a Fundraiser
Keep an eye out for any church or community thrift sales. Many groups host rummage sales or flea markets as a way to raise money. They will gladly accept your donation of a gently used sofa to their cause. These sale events happen most frequently around the winter holidays and during late spring to early summer.
Be a Good Neighbor
Try posting a photo and description of the sofa in any local Facebook groups or message boards you are a member of. You can also try doing this by using apps like Freecycle and Nextdoor, which are geared toward use by people within your own neighborhood and nearby.
OPTION 5: Fix Up Your Couch
Maybe you’d really like to have a new sofa, but just can’t afford the style and quality you want just yet. While you’re saving up money for the perfect addition to your living room, there are a few quick improvements you might be able to make to your existing couch in the meantime.
Stuff Sagging Cushions: You can give saggy cushions new life by stuffing them with a little polyester fiberfill. Another, more durable way to accomplish this is to remove the cushions from their zippered covers, wrap them in quilt batting, then put the original covers back on. For cushions that are attached to the seat back, try adding some buttons for a tufted look.
Slip on a Slipcover: There are several options out there for inexpensive yet beautiful slipcovers. Adding a slipcover to your sofa can give it an instant style update while hiding any stains or small tears. For a clean finished look, you’ll need to measure your sofa before making a purchase. Try to find a slipcover that matches the size, style, and shape of your couch.
Toss in Some Throw Pillows: Adding throw pillows to your sofa can completely change the way it looks and brighten the room around it. Look for pillows in different shapes, sizes, patterns, and textures. While you’ll want to stay within your general color palette for the room, adding a few pops of contrasting color can add some interest to the decor.
Update the Legs: You can do your old couch a favor by changing out the legs. Most modern sofas are constructed so that the legs are screwed into the bottom. Try looking for legs made of a material that complements the rest of the sofa. You can play around with color and shape to add a sense of fun to the piece. If you can’t find any legs that you like, try making your own or painting the existing legs on your couch.
Add Some Trim: Cover up scratched legs by adding some fringe trim to the bottom. You can usually find expensive-looking ribbon fringe for about $2 per yard. If fringe isn’t your thing, try adding nailhead trim along the seamlines of your sofa. Nail on individual tacks for a more authentic look, or attach pre-made strips you can find at your local craft store.
Sneak in Some Support: If you notice that you feel like your couch is trying to eat you whenever you sit down, you can fight back with some extra support. Cut a piece of 1/2″ plywood to fit the base of the couch where the seat cushions sit. Sand any rough edges and lay the plywood on the sofa base, then replace the cushions. You can also achieve the same effect with seat saver boards that can be purchased in several stores.
Tie up Loose Springs: After years of use, especially for families with active children, the springs in the sofa base that provide support can begin to weaken and lose their bounce. A quick fix for this is to use plastic zip ties in a zig-zag pattern to attach the springs together. This creates more tension in the springs, renewing the support they originally provided the sofa seat.
Replace Broken Wood: When you sit down or move around, do you notice that your couch wobbles? This is a common symptom of broken or rotting wood in the frame. This may make you think your sofa is done for, but it’s a pretty easy fix. You’ll need to carefully remove the fabric and stuffing to get to the broken wood, then simply replace the damaged piece with nails or screws. Put everything back together, and your broken sofa is as good as new!
Treat It to a Deep Clean: Most people buy a couch and only ever spot clean it at best. A piece of furniture that sees so much use will become surprisingly filthy more quickly than you think. Rent a steam cleaner and use gentle cleansers to deep clean your sofa, making it look brand new again while getting rid of all the germs and bacteria that have built up over time.
OPTION 6: Repurpose Your Couch
You can give your old sofa new life by reincarnating its parts and using them for other things. While that old, worn out sofa may have seen better days, a lot of the materials inside can still be in perfectly good condition. Even if some of the wood, metal springs, foam, or fabric aren’t in good enough shape to be used for a sofa, they can still serve a useful purpose elsewhere in your home.
Springs & Metal Frames
A sofa’s metal springs are made of thick steel wire which can be taken to your local scrap metal yard and recycled by being melted down and made into new products. Futon frames, often made of metal, can sometimes be recycled this way as well.
Recycled Steel: Since metal can be melted and reshaped over and over again, there are countless uses for recycled steel. Things we take for granted, like overpasses we drive on and ductwork that helps cool our homes, are made with recycled steel.
Create with Couch Springs: Old couch springs can be a crafter’s dream, and sometimes the rustier the better. Both coiled and serpentine springs can be used to make home goods such as wreaths, planters, vases, lanterns, and even chandeliers.
Cushions & Filling
Couch cushions and padding are primarily made from polyurethane foam. Other materials include latex foam, polyester fiberfill, and pocket springs. In traditionally-made sofas, the padding on the back and arms can be made of rubberized animal hair.
Recycled Foam: After polyurethane foam is recycled, it is used in 90% of homes as padding underneath carpet. Recycled foam is also used in the production of fuel, mattresses, gym mats, and pet beds.
Create with Foam: There are many uses for the foam and other stuffing materials from your old couch. Foam and fiberfill can be reused for making floor cushions, throw pillows, gardening cushions, and pet beds. Cut used foam to size and use it to seal drafty doors and windows, or as packing material when moving.
Most couch frames are made from kiln-dried wood free of knots, bark, or any other defects. Many newer sofas use materials such as plywood and particle board in the construction of their frames.
Recycled Wood: The wood from your old sofa can be recycled by chipping it down and using it for mulch, burning fuel, or compost. Old wood can also get a new lease on life as new furniture or flooring.
Create with Wood: Furniture made from reclaimed wood is usually more expensive than its virgin wood counterpart. Why not use the wood from your old couch to make your own upscale furniture? Break out the hammer, saw, and paintbrush to create head-turning pieces for your home or for sale!
A couch can be covered with a number of different natural, synthetic, and blended fabrics. Wool and nylon tend to be the most desirable types of upholstery, but fabrics made of cotton, rayon, acetate, and polyester are often used.
Recycled Upholstery: The upholstery fabric from your old sofa can be donated to a local thrift shop. Some recycling facilities will also accept fabrics and shred them up into fibers that can be made into products such as insulation and chair padding.
Create with Upholstery: Rags, quilts, pillow covers, table runners, bags, and jewelry are just a few of the things that can be made with fabric scraps. Homemade crafts such as these make excellent gifts because they are thoughtful and require special effort, plus they’re good for the environment!
**Disassembling a couch can be dangerous due to sharp objects. Be careful and proceed with caution.
OPTION 7: Hire A Disposal Pro
For most of us, it’s a huge hassle and headache to get rid of an old, used, and unwanted couch. While dumping your sofa on the curb, behind a building at night, or in a parking lot may seem tempting, it’s really the last thing you want to do.
We all want to save money, time, and effort when it comes to disposing of an old couch. The best way to do this is to hire a Couch Removal Pro to handle the job for you.
LoadUp Junk Removal
LoadUp is a nationwide couch disposal and junk removal service that offers honest pricing and simple online booking. It’s easy to schedule your pick up with reliable six-day-a-week disposal and recycling in over 160+ cities in the US. Call or book online as soon as the day before you want service to receive a pickup time that works for you.
- 250 + Local Driver Teams
- 160 + Nationwide Cities Covered
- 43,500 + Junk Items Removed
- 29,000 + happy Customers Served
- 2.5 Million + Pounds Diverted From Landfills
Reasons to Hire Our Professionals
Our pick-up drivers and helpers are fully licensed and insured to enter your home. They do all the hard work including pick-up, hauling, and dropoff at a recycling center or charity. Most junk removal companies either charge too much or won’t take a single couch or loveseat, but we will! View Pricing ❯
Not only will we take just one sofa, but we also haul away other furniture or junk items you need to get rid of. Remember, the earth doesn’t want your old couch, but we do! What We Take ❯
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Find out why customers prefer LoadUp Junk Removal when it comes to professional, affordable, and responsible couch disposal services. Our dedicated support team is committed to making your disposal experience with us as easy as possible.
OPTION 8: Dump It Yourself “DIY”
Illegally dumping your old couch is definitely Not Recommended, nor do we condone disposing of a sofa in this way. This creates an eyesore for the community and doesn’t solve any problems except getting rid of it, but in exchange for forcing someone else who is more responsible to spend their time, effort, and money in dealing with proper disposal.
Your actions can have a huge impact on the environment. Sofas are built with so many environmentally harmful products that they can create hazardous pollution that is bad for the earth and communities. Dumping your old couch in a landfill is just as bad as dumping it by the curb. Think of all the garbage that waste workers are already having to deal with that contributes to chemical runoff.
When disposing of your old, used, and unwanted sofa, please consider these facts before making the mistake of improperly dumping it:
- Sofas are filled with dangerous chemicals like formaldehyde.
- Chemical runoff contaminates soil and local water supplies.
- Each couch takes up an average of 52 cubic feet of landfill space.
- Over 20 million tons of furniture end up in landfills every year.
Do the Right Thing!
Dumping your sofa improperly is not only illegal but just plain bad for the community and our planet. Please do your best to be responsible and use any of the other available options listed in this couch disposal guide.
If you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact us and our friendly, dedicated LoadUp support team will help you find the couch disposal solution that’s just right for you!