Tech Savvy: Try something this month to benefit the planet

Look for companies that are environmentally conscious, bundle orders, buy locally, and support causes that benefit the Earth while providing a little bling along the way.

Clasped hands painted to look like Earth
This Earth Day, week and year, there are small steps people can take to be more environmentally friendly.
Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service

BRAINERD — There are lots of ways to do even small things to help the planet.

Whether that is recycling, buying smarter or finding tech to do more to be environmentally friendly, this Earth Day there should be something worth trying to make even a little difference.

And on Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, there are also lots of discounts when buying Earth friendly items.

Here are a few options

  • Support the businesses that are making a commitment to reduce packaging, or make compostable packaging without all that plastic. A number of companies are working to reduce their packaging, even when buying suet for the birds, so there isn’t a plastic shell to try to recycle or that will ultimately end up in the landfill. 
  • When shopping, compare products and look for items, particularly cosmetics, that aren’t tested on animals. This used to be a struggle. Now many mainstream manufacturers are making products not tested on animals and are advertising that fact to consumers. 
  • Make a commitment to buy locally. The products you are looking for were already delivered to the area in terms of using energy for shipping. If you are ordering online, companies like Amazon offer to bundle items to reduce deliveries and packaging. Just pick the bundle option when checking out. Companies like Kohl’s provide a $5 incentive for customers to pick up items at the local store, instead of having it shipped directly to your door.
  • Support companies that recycle plastics into new products and benefit the environment like 4Ocean, the company that creates bracelets out of recycled plastic and uses the money to clean ocean trash, streams and coastlines. 4Ocean reports it has pulled 28,560,285 pounds of trash from oceans, rivers and coastlines since it started in 2017 and those efforts are primarily funded by the sale of their products. The company notes for each item you buy you support pulling a pound of plastic from Earth’s waters. It sells bracelets and seems to be always adding to designs,as well as jewelry, reusable bottles and shopping bags, stickers, backpacks, T-shirts, caps and beach towels. The items have grown considerably since I bought my first bracelets. It gives shoppers the option to pick a cause by shopping to benefit sea turtles or dolphins or whales and other species. Learn more at


  • Microsoft’s Ocean plastic mouse also is created from 20% recycled ocean trash. It works with PC and Mac. It comes in a variety of colors and costs about $16 on a recent price check. 
  • Logitech is also offering products with batteries that last a year.
  • Have that celebration and still feel good about not filling the garbage can with plastic or styrofoam. Ecovita, with a California distributor, sells compostable forks, spoons and knives, bowls and plates. The company notes it wants to help people “enjoy life’s ventures while helping you use renewable resources, promote zero waste and minimize the impact to the environment.”   
  • Look for refurbished technology when looking to upgrade. It’s a way to recycle and reuse tech items like laptops, get certification for their worthiness and save money.  
  • Instead of throwing things out to the landfill — from furniture to dishes to clothes and old tech gadgets, look for options to recycle and reuse. There are multiple ways to donate used furniture and household goods, even Christmas decorations, to local charitable organizations. A number of them — like Salem West in Deerwood and local Habitat for Humanity ReStores— have options to pick up larger donations and furniture pieces people can’t move themselves. The Brainerd Lakes Area Habitat for Humanity ReStore has a “request a pickup” option on its website at . For more information on Salem West, go to and check out the Salvation Army, which also has an online form for free pickups for donated goods at . It’s a way to clear out clutter, give some gently used pieces to someone else who can really use them, and feel good about reusing rather than adding to the landfill when there is life left in an item. 

So plant a tree, recycle, clean up and do something this month that will serve more than one purpose and benefit the environment in April for Earth month. It may be habit forming.
Renee Richardson, managing editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Renee Richardson is managing editor at the Brainerd Dispatch. She joined the Brainerd Dispatch in 1996 after earning her bachelor's degree in mass communications at St. Cloud State University.
Renee Richardson can be reached at or by calling 218-855-5852 or follow her on Twitter @dispatchbizbuzz or Facebook.
What To Read Next
Get Local


Must Reads