Bed bugs have turned used mattresses into a potential health problem. When New York City launched its first consumer awareness program against bed bugs, warning people about the possible infestation of second-hand mattresses was a major focus. The spread of bed bugs through the Big Apple was being accelerated by people taking home mattresses discarded for trash collection. Consumer education has reigned in the practice in New York and other metro areas, but finding a way to safely collect and dispose of bed bug-infested mattresses has remained a problem.
A new Connecticut law creating the nation’s first mattress recycling program could solve the mattress disposal issue and serve as a model for similar laws in other states. Developed with input from the International Sleep Products Association, the law has created a non-profit council to oversee and manage a mattress recycling program that will collect, transport, process and recycle discarded mattresses. Designed to be self-supporting, the program will be funded by the addition of a small fee, called a “mattress stewardship fee,” to be added to the purchase price of every mattress sold in the Connecticut. The law also provides for monetary incentive to encourage consumer participation.
Implementation of Connecticut’s mattress recycling program is scheduled for July, so it may be another year before the program’s effectiveness can be judged. The best way to protect your mattress from bed bug infestation remains bed bug-proof mattress covers and box spring encasements.