I’ve always liked to look at footprints in the sand or ones made on concrete when someone barefoot steps in water and leaves their trail on the other side. But there is one footprint that I don’t like to think about very much: carbon footprints.

There is a formula you can use to determine your own carbon footprint, but I’m not brave enough to try it.

By definition, a carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gasses produced to directly and indirectly support human activities.

One of the articles I read used driving to the grocery store as an example of where you had to consider the fuel you used to go to the store, in addition to the packaging materials of the products you buy and the store itself using power and their employees driving to work impacting the carbon footprint of the store itself. It just goes on and on.

I can't fix it all, but there are things I could do that wouldn’t require a lot of effort. I could make my own tea with a tea bag and not buy the smaller individually bottled products, and that could help a little. One of my friends buys his favorite soda in 2-liter bottles and refills his smaller bottles to reuse. He does it to save money, but he is also reducing his carbon footprint. He even saves those empty 2-liter bottles for me to turn into craft items. The bottles also can be recycled at our local center.

No matter what kind of footprint you have, take yourself and your recyclables to the Polk County Recycling Center. It is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday each week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at their location just east of Mo. 32 and Route D in Bolivar. They are accepting the same items as always. The complete list follows below for your convenience.

●    No. 1 and No. 2 plastics: Lids for those plastics are also accepted and may be left on the bottles. No. 1 and No. 2 plastics should be sorted before arriving so they may be easily placed in the appropriate bin.

●    Aluminum: Aluminum cans need to be separated from other aluminum products such as foil, pie tins, etc. Beverage cans go in a different bin than the other foil items.

●    Tin cans: labels do not have to be removed.

●    Glass: does not have to be separated by color.

●    Cardboard items: do need to be flattened, but staples do not need to be removed. Also, cardboard cereal boxes and other clean boxes are fine.

●    Paper: Office paper, newspapers and magazines are accepted in the same bin. Hardcover books can be bagged together, or the hardcovers may be taken off and put into the cardboard bin, with the book pages being added to the paper bin.

Other items that may be recycled are being accepted. Lawnmowers and small engines are accepted but must have their fluids drained. Christmas lights, wiring and electrical cords, automotive batteries, metal appliances (such as refrigerators, washers, dryers and freezers) and metal shelving are also being accepted. All appliances need fluids drained prior to bringing them to the center. Freezers and refrigerators also need refrigerant pumped out ahead of time. VCRs are also accepted.

Once again, try to help by having your clean items sorted prior to your arrival, as that helps speed up the process for everyone. If you have any questions about recycling, just ask when you stop by the center.

Think about your own situation. What purchasing decisions could you choose to lessen your carbon footprint, and maybe even save yourself a few dollars? No matter what you come up with, please choose to be kind to the earth; I still have friends who live there.

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