LEWISTON – People registering their cars and trucks here are in line for a bonus: A “punch pass” that’s worth $300 or more toward the disposal of waste materials that typically aren’t picked up during weekly collections.

The pass replaces previously issued residential dump permits.

Rob Stalford, the city’s superintendent for solid waste, said that besides providing a control mechanism for waste disposal, the pass also should help in recycling efforts. The gate attendant will be checking waste to make certain recyclables are separated out from non-recyclable waste.

Controls over waste disposal are important, Stalford said, since Lewiston taxpayers cover costs to get rid of it. Without the pass, attendants couldn’t tell if waste was coming in from nearby towns. Likewise, commercial waste might be brought to the disposal facility off River Road and pawned off as residential trash.

“We just don’t want Auburn trash here, or Sabattus’, or Durham’s,” Stalford said.

The pass allows for the free disposal of up to three tons of solid wastes that could include regular household trash, construction and demolition debris and yard materials. The tonnage will be broken up in 200-pound units for punch-pass purposes.

It also allows for free disposal of two 16-inch or smaller tires without rims, one refrigerator, air conditioner or freezer containing freon, one television or computer monitor, and six bulky waste items such as a roll of carpeting, a sofa, bureau or other furniture.

Without the pass, or once it’s completely punched, people will pay $85 per ton for solid waste, or $170 per ton for mixed loads, from $2 to $20 per tire depending on size and whether it’s mounted on a rim or not, and $10 for an appliance containing freon.

The punch-pass program goes into effect on Aug. 4, but the passes are being distributed now when people register or renew their motor vehicle registrations. Passes are being handed out at the Treasury and Tax Collection office on the second floor of the City Hall.

People who have already registered a car or truck can stop by the office and request a pass by showing a valid registration certificate.

Stalford said the intent of the program is to generate about $240,000. That number reflects a combination of savings on solid waste disposal and fees paid by people to get rid of trash. The effort was directed by the City Council as part of its budget-making process.

The pass is supposed to be non-transferable, but so far the city hasn’t come up with a scheme to prevent them from changing hands. Stalford said he’s heard people talking of landlords asking their tenants for the pass in order to save on disposal charges.

Apartment houses with four or more units are eligible for a city-sponsored collection program with period billing. Landlords who opt out can hire outside contractors to tote off their tenants’ waste.

With enough punch passes, however, a landlord might opt to haul off the waste and attempt to avoid the collection fees.

One pass comes with each registration when requested.

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