Thanks to bed bug hysteria, throwing out a mattress is going to cost me money (opinion)


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19 shares, 97 points

Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – Are bed bugs really that much of a problem?

I mean, outside of hotels and hostels and the like, where you’re never sure who’s been there before you and you don’t know how well places are cleaned. Some offices too, I guess.

That’s the most likely way you’ll bring bed bugs into your own home. Or maybe your kid will bring some of the nasties home from college, where we know that cleanliness standards can be a bit flexible.

I’m thinking about this because I have two mattresses to throw out. With some of our kids now out of the house, we don’t need a bunkbed anymore. We’ve got better uses for the space.

So that means we have to throw out two mattresses.

This used to be a simple process, like throwing out any trash. You put the mattresses out at the curb and the nice folks from the Sanitation Department took them away.

Not anymore. Not since bed bug mania took over the city a decade ago. Now we have to by law wrap our mattresses and box springs in sealed plastic bags before we put them out.

Which means we have to go to the home improvement store and buy the bags. The ones we bought recently cost $14. So I’m literally throwing that money away.

It’s another one of those greeny initiatives that just doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny.

I get that people want to make sure that the mattresses that they’re using are free of bed bugs. And if you live in an apartment building, you want to make sure that no critters make the move from someone else’s dwelling into yours.

But what’s the danger if I’m throwing the mattress out? Any bed bugs would be outside. And it’s not like the mattress is going anywhere where people live. It’s getting crushed in a Sanitation truck and then shipped to a landfill.

God bless the bed bug that survives all that. Why do I care if a landfill has bed bugs? That’s probably one of the more benign environmental hazards that you’ll find in a landfill, what with all the rats, decaying trash and chemical toxins.

Besides all that, these mattresses of mine don’t have bed bugs. We’ve looked. And nobody’d been bitten. And while I know that not everybody reacts the same way to bed bug bites, sooner or later you’ll know if you have an infestation.

But the regulation treats all the mattresses the same. I have to spend the money and then take the trouble to wrap and seal the mattresses up. And all for no appreciable effect.

Some will say it’s just a little thing, wrapping a mattress and wasting a little money. Stop being such a grouch.

Sure, like how recycling is such a little thing to do even if so much of what we “recycle” is actually just getting dumped in landfills or burned.

Or how the plastic-bag ban is a small price to pay in order to save the planet while at the same time we’re getting buried by environmentally unfriendly re-usa…

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