Q and A on recycling: What goes in the bin, and what stays out

In Milford, officials have been trying to help residents understand what goes in the recycling bin and what doesn't. After running an article about recycling, which you can read by clicking here, residents sent in questions. So the Mirror forwarded those questions to the people with the answers. Following are questions and answers on the issue of recycling.
I read the April 9 Milford Mirror article “Know what goes in the bin?” I have been a conscientious recycler since the program began but am quite confused.
Milford recycles.com says plastics #1-7 are recycled (which would appear to exclude plastics that are not numbered).
The Milford Mirror article says however, “anything that is clean plastic, paper, cardboard, ...” can be recycled. Then it says that “no plastic plates, cups and plastic bowls...” It also says that “plastic trays or tubs are Ok, as are plastic toys, plastic appliances and plastic furniture.” Do these need to be numbered 1-7 or are any plastics okay?
The recycling company website says hardcover books can be recycled, but the article says they cannot. The website also says black plastic, shredded paper and medicine bottles can't be recycled, but the article says they can.
— Paula
Paula, following are the answers from Ryan Bingham of Winters Brothers, which processes Milford’s recyclables.
I’ll first say that I appreciate the detail by which this resident is aware of what are acceptable recycling items. It does appear, however, that she may have an older version of our recycling list.
As we continue to improve our processing ability and as downstream markets become available for types of recyclable commodity we may attempt to grow our list of acceptable recyclable items.
For example, plastics. We can now accept plastics that are not numbered, more specifically larger bulky plastic items. Caps and lids are still very hard to recycle because of their size, and film plastic, such as plastic bags and the tapes that were included in VHS tapes, are not recyclable items in single stream. These film plastics are still recyclable and many grocery stores offer the ability to recycle them at their stores, but for the single stream operation it becomes an operational issue as they get stuck in the screens and belts.
We try to make it easy and my motto is as long as it’s clean plastic, paper, cardboard, glass or metal it can be recycled: When in doubt, recycle it.
— Ryan
The list in the Milford Mirror’s article about recycling says wrapping paper goes in the bin. Does this include metallic papers?
It's confusing about plastic lids. I know the tiny ones from medicine bottles are out, but what about the ones from margarine tubs that are marked “4”? What about other items marked with numbers?
Do phone books go in the bin?
Folks can keep lots of other items out of the regular trash. Plastic bags can go to Stop and Shop. They have a receptacle near the entrance for plastic bags. This even includes zipper style bags if the zipper is cut off.
Packing materials — packing peanuts, bubble wrap etc. can go to a FedEx store. They reuse them.
Clothing can go to Goodwill or other charities. Fabric and old clothing are used as rag for making paper.
Batteries can go to the Bulbs Plus Batteries store, or HazWaste.
Non-meat garbage — food, teabags, coffee grounds, eggshells — can be composted.
— Jane
Jane, here are Ryan Bingham’s answers to your questions:
On wrapping paper: Metallic wrapping papers can go in the recycling bin.
On lids: Lids are recyclable items, but the issue is the size of the lids. If they can stay attached to the container it would be much better. What ends up happening is the lids fall through our screens. Generally speaking the larger the lids the easier it is for us to recycle them. I would recommend recycling the plastic and let our system pull out what we can pull out.
On phone books: Yes, phone books go in the bin.
— Ryan
If you have recycling questions, email them to editor@milfordmirror.com and we will try to get the answers.