It has become more and more challenging for families to recycle these days, especially when society has a great need for plastics, metals and paper. We forget to think about how our actions with such goods affect the earth. According to the Associa Green Foundation, Americans throw away enough paper and plastic products to circle the equator 300 times every year. The good news is that families can help protect our environment by reusing basic household items.

Coffee Grounds. After having your morning coffee, use the grounds for the compost pile. Along with the decomposing leaves and food particles, the acidity from the coffee grounds will give the compost mixture a more nutrient rich combination that the soil will benefit from. If you don’t have a compost pile, simply sprinkle the grounds around plants preyed on by slugs and bugs. The coffee grounds will keep them away.

Recycled Yarn. For all those knitting and crochet lovers, there are companies who make and sell recycled yarn. For example, Nepalese recycled silk sari yarn is created using scraps from the production saris. This yarn is hand spun in Nepal and helps financially support the women who spin this unique and colorful yarn. You can find this yarn online at and Do you have an old sweater you never wear? You can make your own skein of recycled yarn by simply, and gently, unraveling that old sweater to save for another project.

Reduce Trash. There are many ways you can reduce the amount of trash you and your family create. Use stainless steel water bottles instead of store-bought plastic ones. This is also a great money saver so that you won’t have to go to the store every two weeks replenishing your water bottle supply. Another way of reducing trash is to use plastic lunch boxes rather than paper bags for kids’ lunches.

Paper Towel Tubes. Think of clever ways to reuse your paper towel tubes. Instead of throwing away plastic grocery bags, stuff them in a paper towel tube to reuse later. You can also give the tubes to kids to use for craft projects. Kids can color the paper tubes; make them into telescopes, magic wands or trumpets for playtime. Paper towel tubes can also be used as kitchen knife sheaths when you’re on the way to a picnic or potluck dinner. Just flatten the tube and place some duct tape over one of the ends.