Catalogs: don’t just throw them away, certainly recycle, use as wrapping paper, better yet call the number on catalog and get your name removed from the list. Most company’s products are available to view online and are the most update anyway.
Household cleaning products: step away from your kitchen and bathroom sink cabinets and smell the toxins! Most household products you’ve been using since well, who can remember when? Most are really toxic and there are great alternatives, and much cheaper too. For example, save an old window cleaner spray bottle, buy a gallon jug of white vinegar and experiment mixing with water, I use about one cup vinegar for one spray bottle, and voila a great window cleaner. Same for cleaning floors, vinegar in a hot bucket of water does the trick.
A clothes dryer is energy wasteful and actually destroys the fabric, Where else does all that lint come from. Little by little the dryer is eating away at your clothes. Okay, I too use a dryer, but not for too much time. Actually we over-dry our clothes, or over pack the dryer so it has to work that much harder. Try hanging clothes over the shower bar and you’d be surprised how quickly things dry on their own. A folding wooden clothes hanger was best investment I’ve made. Where possible, hanging laundry on a line makes clothes smell fresh and saves energy.
Reuse as much as possible, I know it can be yucky, but come on what’s wrong with reusing a plastic veggie bag from the store? I rinse and hang on a door cabinet pull (hide away when neighbors drop by, so the kitchen doesn’t look like a plastic factory), plastic is the most intensely disgusting wasteful product we seem to not be able to live without. Plastic bottles, try switching to a glass one, or refill. Of course do not leave a plastic bottle to heat up in a car-harmful toxins seep into the drink. Same with plastic containers, for a long life, hand wash, as the dishwasher heats up enough to release toxins. Scratching plastic with coarse sponge can also release toxins, so be gentle with them. When done recycle.
To-Go containers are horrible and here in NY we can’t even recycle most of them. Look for the lower numbers on the bottom. Actually, aluminum to-go containers are the best bet as they can be recycled. Luckily products are coming more and more available that are biodegradable. So try and either support those businesses who use them, or make sure to ask them to make a switch.
So my thought for Earth Day, now in it's 40 years is, we have to take responsibility for our consumption and our waste. We can't just throw it all away, it's got to go somewhere. What goes up must come down, what goes in must come out, so just because we can't see it (unless you live near a landfill, or happen to watch a garbage barge float by) doesn't mean it's not there. What is mine becomes yours, for better or for worse, so let's try and do better.