Reuse furniture charity’s change of policy amid safety concerns

Home Basics, Walkerburn. (Facebook).Home Basics, Walkerburn. (Facebook).
Home Basics, Walkerburn. (Facebook).
Company will no longer accept damaged upholstered items.

A furniture reuse charity which has supported people on low incomes in the Borders for 20 years has announced a policy change amid safety concerns.

Quality, used and pre-loved home-ware items are available at Home Basics retail outlets in Walkerburn and Hawick.

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This helps reduce waste whilst preventing the need for manufacturing new products similar to those readily available and locally sourced.

Now changes in waste disposal regulations means that Home Basics can no longer accept any upholstered seating for reuse if there is any damage to the item.

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are hazardous chemicals that, once released into the environment, pose risks to human health and ecosystems.

These “forever chemicals” have been used in fire-retardant treatments for upholstered domestic seating.

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SEPA’s 2024 guidance mandates that domestic upholstered seating which is not fit for reuse must be incinerated through specialist contractors, and that disposal via landfill is no longer permissible.

Unusable items also have to be stored and transported separate from other waste.

As a result, Home Basics must now check and ensure that any domestic upholstered furniture which it is offered for donation must be suitable for reuse and does not have any damage whatsoever.

Home Basics manager Dennis Fisher apologised for any inconvenience that this may cause and asked donors to understand that this situation is beyond the charity’s control.

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He said: “Whilst some of these chemicals have been restricted in the UK since 2016, Home Basics must be 100 per cent certain that any upholstered seating offered to us is safe to be re-used.

“Donated items still need to have fire safety labels intact, and have no damage to them at all, as we cannot be certain of the presence of these chemicals and must assume they cannot be reused. We will closely monitor the impact this has on our donations and how it affects our beneficiaries.”

Home Basics encourage a reuse society across local communities reaffirming the value of household assets.

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