26 August 2020

Where does my rubbish go after a waste removal?

Read Time: 4 mins

In 2016, the UK generated 222.9 million tonnes of waste and 27% of that came from households. Food and domestic rubbish may come to mind when you think of waste but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. From mattresses to TVs and sofas, the list of items that Clearabee’s waste removal vans collect is never-ending. Once an item of waste leaves your house, you’ll probably never think of it again. We’re going to explore the journey that waste takes to see how the used items from your house can be recycled.


Sofas fall under the category of bulky waste, of which the UK produces 1.6 million tonnes of each year. Instead of being reused and recycled, a lot of these sofas will go to landfill sites. This is a saddening thought when you think of everything a sofa can give to you and your family. It serves as a cinema seat for lengthy sessions of Netflix, a reservation at a five-star restaurant for the best home-cooked meals and an all-round social hub for families across the UK.

living room

A large portion of used sofas will end up in landfill due to them missing their fire safety labels. These labels are a legal requirement and a sofa cannot be sold if that fire label is damaged or not attached. Recycling a sofa can be very labour-intensive and in most cases it’s cheaper to send it to landfill. This is where we at Clearabee set ourselves apart from many other waste removal companies by vowing to recycle as many sofas as we can. Once we collect a used sofa we’ll then deliver it to one of 600 recycling plants that we have audited and approved around the country.


Mattresses are another item that contributes to a large portion of the previously mentioned 222.9 tonnes of waste. Unfortunately, mattresses are one of the most commonly fly-tipped items too. Manufacturers have also been contributing to the high volumes of wasted mattresses through their use of 100 day money-back guarantee deals. As a customer, it can be very tempting to purchase a mattress based on these guarantees and subsequently many customers end up returning their mattress for their money back. Most manufacturers will then not recycle or reuse these returned items, which means they’ll go straight to landfill.


The National Bed Federation found that 6.8 million mattresses were sold in 2015 within the UK but only 879,000 were recycled within the same period. Again, this could be due to the difficulty involved in recycling mattresses. A lot of the recyclable materials have to be extracted by hand which is a costly process. These recyclable materials include springs that can be melted down into reusable metal, foam that can be used in carpet underlay and textile waste that can be used to create fuel.

WEEE Waste

WEEE waste is a generic term that encompasses all electrical equipment: if it uses a plug or batteries it most likely falls under WEEE. Consumer attitudes towards this type of waste need to change as the UK generates the second most WEEE waste per capita. As a nation, it’s important that we try to recycle more WEEE as they can contain hazardous materials which may leak into the ground if left in landfill.

Lots of WEEE is produced by our desire for new and upgraded tech. The craving for the latest model of smartphone means our old ones get left by the wayside. A great method to reuse that old tech is by reselling it. They’re a number of options such as Facebook Marketplace, pre-used tech shops or you could pass it on to a family member or friend. These items can sell very quickly as there are fewer of the negative connotations that seem to be attached to selling used sofas and mattresses. If your electrical item is unusable it still has value as recyclable materials. WEEE waste is rich in ferrous metals which can be extracted by magnets and reused in vehicles.

broken phones

Clearabee’s Waste Removal Journey

We’ve touched on some of the waste a UK household produces but these are just a few examples. Here at Clearabee, we’re experts when it comes to rubbish removal so we can help with all the waste your household may produce. Here’s a quick look at the journey your waste takes with us:

After accruing some waste you can book a Clearabee waste removal using our simple booking page.

We can usually clear your rubbish on the same day of your booking or a day of your choice. We pride ourselves on our excellent levels of service as seen on our Trustpilot score. We’ll arrive and take your sofa in our specialised vehicles. These are bespoke and designed to be as lightweight as possible which means they produce a smaller amount of CO2.

We’ll then locate which of the most-trusted 600 recycling plants is nearest to us and deliver the waste. We also check to ensure these facilities have high rates of recycling.

Even after the job’s finished we’re always working on expanding The Clearabee Forest project which is expected to offset 2,200 tonnes of carbon. You can read more about our commitments to sustainability here.

About Clearabee

Clearabee have quickly become the UK’s largest man-in-a-van style waste removal company. We had a humble beginning from one van, which has now grown to 120 vehicles and 300 staff. We’re also proud to be exclusive customers to some of the UK’s leading brands. Our industry-leading services include rubbish clearance, skip bag, skip hire and more.

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