Solid waste usage poll

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What option best fits your household

self haul, 100% use of transfer station
14
45%
hire curbside hauler and never use the transfer station
8
26%
combination hire curbside and frequently use transfer station (at least once a month)
4
13%
combination hire curbside and rarely use transfer station (less them once a month)
5
16%
other (please explain below)
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 31

Solid waste usage poll

Postby RBarnes » Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:14 pm

Since we've been discussing how many people use the station vs hire a local hauler I thought it would be interesting to conduct an unscientific poll here to at least help frame the discussion better based on the make up of this forum's audience.
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby Jeannine Stergios » Tue Nov 08, 2011 12:44 am

I put down I never use the TS because one time in 11 years doesn't really come under any type of usage listed in the poll.
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby TonyRichardson » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:21 am

Lets keep in mind this poll also only addresses the people on this forum who actually post.

About as unreflective a sample as you could think of.
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby ggkrupp » Tue Nov 08, 2011 6:49 am

TonyRichardson wrote:Lets keep in mind this poll also only addresses the people on this forum who actually post.

About as unreflective a sample as you could think of.



True that it is not a scientific poll but it is interesting
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby John Harrahy » Tue Dec 20, 2011 2:34 am

My first time back to these pages in many months. Interesting to see this discussion is still going on.

I just picked up my new sticker at the dump last Saturday. My sticker is number 3758. They started giving them out the beginning of last month, starting with number 1, so 3758 stickers have been given out in 6 weeks. The man who gave it to me said there have been very few people getting more than one sticker. He writes down the name and address for each sticker as he issues it. He let me take a quick look at his handwritten records, I scanned the last 60 issued, and there were no repeats. I was holding up the people waiting in back of me, so I stoped after 60.

All this data is being entered into a spreadsheet, and soon we'll be able to sort the data and find out exactly how many are repeats.

If the town has 6500 households as I read elsewhere in this forum, then already more than half of them have gotten stickers in the first 6 weeks, so the estimate that only 1/3 of the town uses the TS is obviously wrong.

Since this data is now being computerized, then at any time after all the data gets entered (there's a big backlog right now) we can find out how many Merrimack households use the dump, we'll have hard data, and won't have to rely on estimates by this or that person with his own particular spin on things.
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby RBarnes » Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:52 am

John, considering the existing stickers expire the end of this month I have a hard time believing that we'd have over 3,000 homes that haven't picked up their stickers yet. So far the evidence far more supports 1/3 the town using it then not especially considering they have a large sign when you first pull in reminding people to get their new stickers.

What would be a fair time to wait for the final count? End of January? Want to give it till the end of Feb and see how many are given out?
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby ggkrupp » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:01 am

RBarnes wrote:John, considering the existing stickers expire the end of this month I have a hard time believing that we'd have over 3,000 homes that haven't picked up their stickers yet.


I haven't picked up mine yet (procrastination) and I usually get two stickers
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby bobandgeri » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:29 am

All this tells you is how many stickers are issued, not how often they are used. We picked up a sticker a few weeks ago when disposing of brush from the storm. Including several runs to dispose of brush, we have only used the TS about 12 times since it opened. The cost for curb side is only a few dollars a week more than using the TS when you factor in gas. Factor in disruption of your Saturday (since most people work during the weekday hours it is open), and it's a simple choice to pay for private curbside pickup.
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby andysinnh » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:55 am

I'd be careful reading too much into the actual numbers on the stickers, as they're distributed at both the town hall and the transfer station - so they could have a batch in both places at different numerical starting points. I picked up my 2 stickers on 29-Nov at the town hall when paying my tax bill, and the numbers are in the 17xx range....

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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby Fitzie » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:00 pm

John Harrahy wrote:My first time back to these pages in many months. Interesting to see this discussion is still going on.

I just picked up my new sticker at the dump last Saturday. My sticker is number 3758. They started giving them out the beginning of last month, starting with number 1, so 3758 stickers have been given out in 6 weeks. The man who gave it to me said there have been very few people getting more than one sticker. He writes down the name and address for each sticker as he issues it. He let me take a quick look at his handwritten records, I scanned the last 60 issued, and there were no repeats. I was holding up the people waiting in back of me, so I stoped after 60.

All this data is being entered into a spreadsheet, and soon we'll be able to sort the data and find out exactly how many are repeats.

If the town has 6500 households as I read elsewhere in this forum, then already more than half of them have gotten stickers in the first 6 weeks, so the estimate that only 1/3 of the town uses the TS is obviously wrong.

Since this data is now being computerized, then at any time after all the data gets entered (there's a big backlog right now) we can find out how many Merrimack households use the dump, we'll have hard data, and won't have to rely on estimates by this or that person with his own particular spin on things.


The only hard data that matters is the MSW tonnage. I'd bet most HH even with CS will get a sticker so they can drop off yard waste and the occassional large appliance however these aren't relevant in a CS vs TS evaluation for the the following reasons:

1. In either scenario an area would be needed for yard waste, applicances and hazmat.
2. None of the 3 are common to all HH's.
3. Combined the 3 represent an Infinitesimal % of the costs associated with a TS (transport, tipping and staffing) as compared to MSW. My guess is the ratio is 97/3 at best.

MSW is the only factor among all HH's and therefore is the only factor that matters in the least.

One last point. I was a member of SWAC 1 and 2 and as such was involved in planning for the TS. In each case the size of the TS was calculated using formulas which took into account the existing MSW tonnage and likely future usage post landfill closing. Not once over the course of 3 years and probably 75 meeting was the number of stickers used to evaluate TS usage/sizing by the DPW Director, Town Manager, BOS or SWAC 1/2. This is because sticker counts simply cannot be tied to MSW and it follows then they cannot be tied to a percentage of HH's.
Last edited by Fitzie on Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby John Harrahy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:00 pm

The only hard data that matters is the MSW tonnage?

Matters to whom, and why?

To me the question is what percentage of the town's households use the TS, and presumably want to keep it and not replace it with something else, e.g. town-funded curbside. Certainly some people use it more than others, some have curbside as well as using the TS, all of that is not applicable - that's their choice. If the taxpayers want a solid waste disposal operation that may not be as cheap as some other option (CS, maybe?), that's up to them - it's their money. Sometimes convenience is worth more than money. And every time the question is put to the voters they respond overwhelmingly that they want the TS.

Last year my sticker number was 8796, I picked it up fairly late in the year. That time they told me the same thing, that sticker numbers started at 1, and 8796 meant that 8796 stickers had been issued to date. I posted that on these pages at the time, and two objections were raised to using that a a measure of how many TS users there were, as I remember. The first was that many people get more than one sticker, and the second was that a block of stickers had been given to the Town Hall and there was no record of what those sticker numbers were or how many had actually been issued.

Now, with the town keeping the data in a spreadsheet, we can directly look up how many individual housesholds have signed up to be able to use the TS if they want, and not have to guess.
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby Fitzie » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:46 pm

John Harrahy wrote:The only hard data that matters is the MSW tonnage?

Matters to whom, and why?

To me the question is what percentage of the town's households use the TS, and presumably want to keep it and not replace it with something else, e.g. town-funded curbside. Certainly some people use it more than others, some have curbside as well as using the TS, all of that is not applicable - that's their choice. If the taxpayers want a solid waste disposal operation that may not be as cheap as some other option (CS, maybe?), that's up to them - it's their money. Sometimes convenience is worth more than money. And every time the question is put to the voters they respond overwhelmingly that they want the TS.

Last year my sticker number was 8796, I picked it up fairly late in the year. That time they told me the same thing, that sticker numbers started at 1, and 8796 meant that 8796 stickers had been issued to date. I posted that on these pages at the time, and two objections were raised to using that a a measure of how many TS users there were, as I remember. The first was that many people get more than one sticker, and the second was that a block of stickers had been given to the Town Hall and there was no record of what those sticker numbers were or how many had actually been issued.

Now, with the town keeping the data in a spreadsheet, we can directly look up how many individual housesholds have signed up to be able to use the TS if they want, and not have to guess.


In short, yes is the only thing that matters when evaluating the enterprises usage and future viability. As I stated previously sticker nu8mbers mean absolutely nothing John. Literally nothing. They are an indication of nothing more than the number of people who've picked them up which is not at all directly related to what % of the residents who use it for its primary purpose, MSW. Lemme put it another way....if in fact 8900 stickers were issued last year and anywhere near that many HH were using the TS for MSW disposal it'd be terribly undersized for the job.

I'm not sure why you insist on assigning more value to empirical data such as number of stickers than you do hard data like actual measured volume of MSW. I can tell you however that you're not likely to find a single PE willing to take the same approach in the country.

I understand the votes John. The voting results however don't (or at least shouldn't) change the way one approaches the data. The data can say one thing and the voters elect another without the data being "wrong". That's OK, the voters do what they want. What's not OK is to try and force the voter's choice to appear supported by data by drawing a correlation which simply does not exist.
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby John Harrahy » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:06 pm

I'm not sure what your point is, Fitzie.

I'm not interested in the TS' efficiency, cost effectivenes, capacity, future viability or anything like that. I just want to know how many townspeople use the TS, period, and what percentage of the town's households that represents. And it looks to me like the town's spreadsheet can tell us that.

I was at the town clerk's office today, though, and found that each of the 3 clerks has a stack of stickers to hand out. The girl I talked to had a stack of 50, starting at no. 1651 and ending at 1700, so clearly my number 3758 doesn't mean anything in terms of how many have been handed out so far. They do keep records of name & address of each person issued a sticker, though, and they report that data back to the TS to be entered into the spreadsheet. So we'll just have to wait a while, probably a few months or so, until that spreadsheet has enough data in it to be meaningful.
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby bobandgeri » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:14 pm

The number of stickers handed out is a meaningless number! We get 2 every year, but don't use the TS. The tanage of trash could mean something when using the average trash per household numbers, but only if you can subtract out the weight of the trash that contractors, commercial trash collectors, etc.. dump there.

If you really want to know how many individual households use the TS you need to check stickers and addresses (as many households have multiple cars/stickers) for a set period of time such as a month.
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Re: Solid waste usage poll

Postby Fitzie » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:25 am

John Harrahy wrote:I'm not sure what your point is, Fitzie.

I'm not interested in the TS' efficiency, cost effectivenes, capacity, future viability or anything like that. I just want to know how many townspeople use the TS, period, and what percentage of the town's households that represents. And it looks to me like the town's spreadsheet can tell us that.

I was at the town clerk's office today, though, and found that each of the 3 clerks has a stack of stickers to hand out. The girl I talked to had a stack of 50, starting at no. 1651 and ending at 1700, so clearly my number 3758 doesn't mean anything in terms of how many have been handed out so far. They do keep records of name & address of each person issued a sticker, though, and they report that data back to the TS to be entered into the spreadsheet. So we'll just have to wait a while, probably a few months or so, until that spreadsheet has enough data in it to be meaningful.


I'm not sure.....why you're not sure. I've been very clear in my description. I also maintain the data on the spreadsheet you seek will never be meaningful unless it is tied to the very things you wish to ignore such as efficiency, cost effectiveness, capacity or future viability and even then, only as an interesting side-note.

You claim to be seeking hard meaningful data when the hardest, most meaningful data already exists in spades and requires absolutley no massaging. MSW tonnage, by year, since the TS opened. Period. Do you not think it wise to distinguish between HH's who use the TS once a year from those who use it once a week?
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