Choosing to Green UP our life and reducing our  waste to a single jar for the month of March was one thing. Actually following through would take some thoughtful preparation and planning. To become waste free the first thing our family needed to do was to look at the waste that we were producing EVERY SINGLE DAY. This is actually harder than I thought it would be and we are  still encountering ways we are wasteful each day! I mean from straws at a restaurant to tissues for those runny noses, there are sure a lot of ways to accumulate waste.


*If you missed our intro post check out “Green UP Challenge: Working Towards a Greener Lifestyle “.


It all started to become overwhelming. Remember… If you are not ready to reduce your waste to a jar then choose another way to Green UP!  Choose one waste problem under either Easy Green UP or Hard  Green Up and focus on that goal for the month  of March.

Whether small or big CHANGE MATTERS!!!


Common waste problems with a Green Up solution to help you reduce your waste.

*Please note that some of the items I recommend were given to me by the company for the challenge but I have already been testing them out and have been finding them useful in Greening UP.

Easy Green UP and Hard Green UP


Feel free to create your own list or use this list and add or take away your wasteful items!

Easy Green UP

Take out Coffee Mugs: Use a reusable coffee mug

Plastic Water Bottles:  Reusable water bottle

Plastic Grocery Bags:  Use reusable grocery bags

Tissues for Runny Noses: Use reusable cloths

Toilet Paper: Use a bidet or Recycled Toilet Paper. You can also try Recycled Natural Unbleached Toilet Paper but I have heard that it may contain BPA. Still trying to confirm.

Crafts for Kids:  Use recyclable materials for crafts.  Save toilet paper rolls, cans, boxes etc. to make crafts before recycling them.

School and Work Lunches: Use reusable snack and sandwich bags or metal, glass or ceramic storage containers.  These Gogo snack bags are great for lunches .


Hard Green UP

Food Packaging:

  •  Buy Bulk and use reusable bags for bulk.   Use reusable bags for produce  like these mesh produce bags by Gogo Bags.  Use reusable bags for bread (Or save old bread bags to reuse)
  • Buy meat and cheese at local butcher and cheese store that does not pre-wrap their meat and use reusable containers for meat and cheese
  • Buy bread at a bakery and bring a reusable bag OR make your own bread
  • Make your own snack food (granola bars, crackers etc) or buy bulk when possible
  • Make your own sauces OR buy sauces in glass containers.

Restaurants and Take Out:

  •  Bring reusable containers for take out and confirm with restaurants ahead of time
  • Bring reusable containers for leftovers
  • Ask for NO straws or napkins at restaurants and bring your own reusable straws for kids and reusable wipes

Food Waste:

  •  Eat food before it goes bad
  •  Eat the peels of foods that you can like carrots and apples
  • Use Fresh Bags to extend produce shelf life
  •  *Compost food that goes bad by making your own compost or buying one

* We have a compost so this is not a challenge for us but added it to the challenging section as it can be more challenging to set up a compost or have money to buy a compost

Bathroom and Cleaning Supplies:

  • Homemade soaps  OR store bought soaps in refillable containers
  • Homemade cleaning solutions OR store bought cleaning solutions in refillable containers
  • Use reusable  cloths for cleaning

Monthly period:

  •  Use a reusable cup like the Diva Cup
  • Use Reusable Pads like the Dahlia Pad by Buttons Diapers


  •  Use reusable diapers like Button Diapers
  •  Optimal to hand wash or use a washer that is not electric and then hang dry to reduce energy

Sex Life:

  •  While I am not going to talk about what route we take as for me that is just a little too personal on the blog and in fact I feel even funny putting it here. Currently blushing. Anyways, I will send you to the Green Peace Website and their post “Guide to Eco Friendly Sex” .  They talk about everything and I mean EVERYTHING including what condoms are most green to using natural family planning.

Have we missed anything?! Let us know as we only have a couple weeks to sort out our lives! While we hope we have thought of waste solutions to our most serious waste issues we know that we will encounter challenges along the way. We are just hoping that we can either avoid the waste or  fit the waste into our jar!

Join the Green UP Challenge  and choose to reduce your waste to a single jar OR choose a personal Green UP  Goal!

Whether small or big CHANGE matters!!!



By Annika Mang
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4 thoughts on “Green UP Challenge: Reducing our waste to a single jar”

  1. I would be careful with washing cloth diapers by hand. I have always been told that they should be washed in the hottest water possible in order to eliminate bacteria. As well, you can get ammonia build-up that causes rashes, or worse, infections. Unless you are boiling them, I’m not sure how you would achieve optimal sterilization without an electric machine.

    1. That is a great point but I know that regardless of whether you hand wash or wash in the washing machine you will have ammonia build up. That is why you need to strip them every few weeks. But I agree hand washing in hot water is necessary. We are looking into the wonder wash which would also be great for our camping trips!

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