2009 Great Sofa Roundup in Fort Collins, Colorado cancelled due to bed bugs

by nobugsonme on July 1, 2009

in bed bugs, bed bugs and students, money, spread of bed bugs

For the last eight years, the city of Fort Collins, Colorado has invited residents to dump their old sofas and chairs in a parking lot, and invited Colorado State University students to come and find a “new” sofa.  It seemed like a nice bit of matchmaking.

However, the event is being cancelled this year due to concerns about the potential spread of bed bugs.

Coloradoan.com reports,

The event started in 2001 when the city noticed a number of used couches dumped in alleyways or disposed of improperly. The ritual usually happened right around August when leases, especially for college students, turned over.

The two-day event has seen thousands of used couches come and go, with more than 80 percent of them recycled in 2008, Emerson said. About 600 couches pass through during the two days.

“We want to know: Do we still have this problem of sofas being dumped, or have we done enough education?” she said.

With a bad economy, however, the need for a free sofa is likely still there, if not increased.

“I think, with the economy, you may still find that need there, but I also know that to mitigate your house from bedbug issues is extremely expensive,” [Melissa Emerson, community liaison for CSU and the city of Fort Collins] said. “I would hate to see low-income people and students who want a used sofa to have the burden of trying to clear their home of bedbugs.”

The city will offer a free pick-up service on July 31 to those who have unusable couches that need to go to the landfill.

Fort Collins and CSU officials get it: you don’t save money if saving money causes you to get bed bugs.
Bed bugs are expensive in terms of money, wasteful in terms of time spent doing the required preparation and treatment, and wasteful of the environment (pesticides, plastic bags, laundry, etc.).  And that’s before you figure in the discomfort (and rarely more serious allergic complications) due to bed bug bites.

Bravo to Fort Collins and CSU for making this change preventively, before the city and college had a big bed bug problem.

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