DEAR SUN SPOTS: As a Lewiston resident, I try to recycle as much as possible. I recently read in the paper that Auburn may discontinue their program because so much of what is put in the recycling bins is not recyclable and ends up just going to the landfill. I find that sad, but also wonder if the same thing happens in Lewiston. I really hope not, but sometimes I’m not sure what should be going in the recycling bin. Would it be possible to put a list in the paper of what should and should not be put in the bins, such as plastic containers that berries come in?

This program has been around for a while and I’m sure I’m not the only one who doesn’t remember what the restrictions are. Please don’t just list a website to go to because most people won’t bother looking. — No name, Lewiston

ANSWER: I do want to put information here about the site in case anyone does want to look. On the city of Lewiston’s website (, there are a few informative links to other sites that are well worth taking a few moments to view if you really are concerned about what items go into the recycling stream. The brief videos are quite educational.

There is a pamphlet that can be printed and kept handy to remind you when you get stuck regarding what to toss in the bin. ( Stickers and the informational pamphlets can also be picked up at Lewiston City Hall at 27 Pine St.; Lewiston Public Library at 200 Lisbon St.; Lewiston Public Works at 103 Adams Ave.;and at the Lewiston Solid Waste Facility at 424 River Road.

Items that don’t go into recycling are plastic wrap, film and bags; Styrofoam; window glass and mirrors, dishes, ceramics and Pyrex; hard, brittle plastic (that has no “give” to it); technological devices like computers; oils and paints; and medical wastes and sharps.

Items you can recycle include plastic bottles and containers #1-7 such as soda/juice/water (glass or plastic), milk jugs, bleach/detergent, hair product bottles and food containers. One and 5 gallon buckets with handles attached, milk and soda crates, laundry baskets, small plastic trash bins (up to five gallons), plastic toys, landscape trays, plastic plant pots, kitty litter buckets, and child-size rigid “kiddie” pools are recyclable. I would also say “yes” to the plastic berry containers as they have “bend” to them.

Metal items such as aluminum pie plates, trays and foil, and tin, steel, and aluminum cans and empty aerosol containers can be recycled as well.

The brochure states that as far as paper goes, if it tears it’s recyclable, so newspapers, magazines, catalogs, telephone and soft and hard cover books, direct mail envelopes (all types), paper (all colors — staples and paper clips are OK), paper board (cereal & shoe boxes), all corrugated cardboard and brown paper bags, and milk and juice cartons go into the recycling, as do all glass containers. Everything should be rinsed and free of food.

If you have more specific questions, call 1-888-656-5356. And watch the six minute video. It’s very well put together.

This column is for you, our readers. It is for your questions and comments. There are only two rules: You must write to the column and sign your name. We won’t use it if you ask us not to. Please include your phone number. Letters will not be returned or answered by mail, and telephone calls will not be accepted. Your letters will appear as quickly as space allows. Address them to Sun Spots, P.O. Box 4400, Lewiston, ME 04243-4400. Inquiries can also be emailed to [email protected].

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