Valley News – Burying Punched Cards in the Trash

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LEBANON — If all goes according to plan, residents of the 22 member communities using Lebanon’s landfill will have a new payment system that should be more convenient and efficient.

Instead of the current punch card system, the proposal is to incorporate prepaid trash bags and an online payment system that city staff hope will be better for users and employees.

A presentation at Wednesday’s city council meeting will detail the proposed payment system for landfills.

“I think we’ve found the best solution available today to meet a variety of needs,” Lebanon’s solid waste manager Marc Morgan said Monday.

At the heart of the plan will be pink trash bags that landfill users can buy from supermarkets, convenience stores and other retail outlets. The bags will be more widely available than the current punch cards, which can only be purchased at a few locations.

The prepaid bags will be a signal to the workers at the dump, helping customers get through the checkpoint more efficiently.

A permit will still be required to show proof of residency in one of the 12 communities in Vermont or 10 in New Hampshire that have agreements with Lebanon for its landfill, which is located south of Commercial Strip Highway 12A at western Lebanon.

Currently, a landfill user shows a QR code on a smartphone or printed on paper, then presents a punch card. The number of hits depends on the amount and types of objects thrown.

It can be difficult for landfill users to know in advance how many punches a particular load will require.

With the pink bag system, much of this uncertainty will be eliminated. And if a dump user has a larger item, they can be paid on the spot via smartphone.

The system could begin to be rolled out gradually this fall, starting with online prepayments for larger items. The pink bags should start next summer. Punch cards would be phased out completely by 2024. The new system is the result of a process that brought together city staff, landfill workers, users and others as part of a team of 10 people led by Morgan and Deputy City Manager Paula Maville, who will present the project to City Council.

Morgan said he thinks the process was a success. He said some of the other options being considered include allowing users to pay with credit or debit cards on the spot, using Apple Pay or Google Pay, or creating a billing system similar to bills. water and sewer.

“But, we looked at the world we live in right now,” Morgan said. “Staffing is an issue. How can we reduce customer time and staff time? »

Landfill users should expect to pay more under the new system, City Manager Shaun Mulholland said. The cost of running the landfill is increasing due to the cost of fuel, wages, and the need to go through the permitting process to open a new landfill cell.

Currently, punch cards cost $15 for 10 punches, or $1.50 per 30-gallon trash bag.

Other items can be eliminated for a set number of hits, such as a tire for five hits, a mattress for nine hits, or a computer screen for 14 hits.

Under the new system, however, users will log in, prepay for the item, and receive a receipt which will be shown to the gate attendant.

Duane Egner, from Thetford, one of 22 communities using the landfill, was one of 10 members of the group that developed the new system.

Egner said punch cards were a nuisance during busy times like Saturdays, causing delays and frustration.

He believes the new system will allow workers to easily identify prepaid bags and save time checking punch cards and avoid having to turn away customers for running out of punches.

“I think it should be better for both of them,” Egner said. “As with any change, you are going to have growing pains.”

Morgan said landfill users were asking for something different.

“We take these comments very seriously,” Morgan said. “The city responds to the changing needs of its citizens and customers.

Morgan said the landfill is seeing twice as many people as before the pandemic. He said many smaller communities stopped providing transfer station services or reduced their opening hours, and after the pandemic, many people continued to come to Lebanon due to the expanded hours of operation. openness and other benefits.

The Lebanon landfill is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Wednesday’s city council meeting is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. in the council chambers of city hall. It is also available live online at www.LebanonNH.gov/live.

Darren Marcy can be reached at dmarcy@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.

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