Bag The Bugs or Pay The Price

If you plan to discard a mattress this year, you'll need to encase it in a plastic bag or risk getting a hefty ticket.

The rule from the Department of Sanitation is a move to stop the spread of a pest that was on many New Yorker's minds in 2010, bed bugs.

New York City Councilwoman Gail Brewer is the Head of the Government Operation Committee and is known as the bed bug expert on the City Council.

Brewer says covering mattresses will also give piece of mind to city sanitation workers, who are on the front lines of the epidemic.

"They are very nervous about going home in their sanitation clothes, to be honest with you...and so I think this will help a little bit with that fear," said Brewer.

Brewer said up until now, workers have been trying to wash their uniforms at laundromats near sanitation garages to keep from bringing the bugs home.

The Council Sanitation Committee is expected to hold hearings next month to determine what kind of plastic coverings are the most durable and affordable for mattress disposal.

Brewer believes the new rule will also help the squeamish feel more confident passing discarded bedding on city sidewalks.

"In the last few weeks, around the city, I've seen mattresses covered and I think that's a good thing because when you walk by, I must say, I detour. Now I won't," said Brewer.

Mattress bags are available at home and hardware stores.

The Department of Sanitation will begin enforcing the new rule, on Monday, January 3. Fines for noncompliance will range from $100 to $300.