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Millions of reusable furniture sent to landfill by local authorities, says new study

More than 10 million reusable items of furniture are sent to landfill by local authorities every year, according to a new study. The Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) conducted the study which found that almost 30,000 items, such as sofas, tables and mattresses are sent to landfill every day. FRN chief executive Paul Smith said: Nearly every bulky item is taken to landfill by local authorities. "They smash it up and take it to landfill. Local authorities should look at councils such as Doncaster, Lancaster and Liverpool who have got re-use projects to run their bulky waste service. FRN is calling on local authorities and their waste management partners to look at alternative methods to divert waste from landfill. FEAT Enterprises is a Scottish company that recycles mattresses, it is the only one running in the country. The company has technology that breaks down all the materials found in a mattress, such as the springs and fabric, and then recycles them. Smith said that he is in talks with the Waste & Resources and Action Programme to introduce a similar scheme in England. Smith added: We are hoping that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) changes its definition for local authority recycling targets, which at the moment excludes the re-use. Re-use is classed as disposal and not as recycling even though re-use is up higher in the waste hierarchy cycle. Local authorities would have higher recycling figures if they included re-use. For example, say if a local authority has reached a 25% recycling target and 5% of that figure is re-used waste, that 5% would have to be taken out and brought down to 20%. FRN is hoping for an announcement fairly soon from Defra on whether re-use will be included in the recycling target definition, as of from next year, after a summer consultation on the issue.

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