Stewards of the Land… and Shower?

As a person who grew up on, and now works full time at, a family-owned cattle ranch, I’ve always heard and believed that as a rancher it’s my job to be a steward of the land and always leave it better than I found it. I’ve always done my best to take note of best management practices such as cattle grazing techniques. However, I’ve never really thought about any other impact that I may have on our planet.

A year or so ago, I was on a team of women tasked at promoting the largest annual cattle industry convention. While on this team, I was mentored by Tiana, who shortly after began posting a lot of eco-mindful content on her Instagram. At first, I just somewhat clicked through and didn’t pay a lot of attention. But then one day it dawned on me that as a rancher I always stand behind the fact that my family, and families across this nation, are stewards of the land. Now how can I consider myself a caretaker of our natural resources and open spaces if I’m dumping just as much plastic and garbage into landfills as the next guy?

A few summers ago I absolutely fell in love with the beauty of our natural parks with my first visit to one being Grand Teton National Park. During the recent government shutdown I was disgusted by early posts on social media illustrating the garbage visitors were absentmindedly leaving throughout the parks with no one there to clean it up.

My sister and I went on a backpacking trip for 15 days in Europe this past fall. Before the trip I spent hours researching what and how to pack. One of the main issues traveling carry-on only for women is always beauty products. I was lead on to bar shampoos and conditioners by numerous travel bloggers and decided to try the idea out myself. The shampoo bar was amazing and so much more simple than carrying bottles of product.

Within the past month or so, these three experiences all seemed to click in my head and I’ve decided to work on being more aware of the impact of things I’ve just mindlessly been tossing in the trash. I decided to start recycling my plastic waste and was hit immediately with a dead end in that neither the city I live in nor the independently owned garbage company here accept plastic into their recycling programs. Bummer.

I’ve since moved onto the idea of working slowly on buying waste-free products for my household and have started with the shower, an easy one to tackle!

If you’re interested in waste-free shower products, below are the ones I’ve tried so far. I still own a few bottles of hair products and body or face wash, but with how well I’m liking these bar products, I think I will make the switch completely as soon as the other products run out.

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Trust me when I say my hair and I have always been picky. My thin hair tangles extremely easily if conditioners aren’t right – the green bar is a conditioner from Lush and it works but I don’t like how it smells or how it feels when I use it, so I’m also trying the Bar None conditioner bar. So far the Bar None conditioner combined with my shampoo bar is working perfectly.

The little purple bar is a Lush Shampoo Bar and I love it, I’m convinced. She made the trip to Europe with me and I can’t believe I put it away when I got home. I will continue to use this product as a complete replacement for any other shampoo I’ve ever used.

I will tell you I have no idea where the body soap bar on the bottom right came from, but I don’t consider myself picky about body wash. I’ve used my brother’s aggressively-scented axe body wash with no shame when I stay out there during calving season. I have a lavender bar soap from Love Beauty & Planet that I look forward to using! Lavender is my favorite scent.

I’m a face wash junkie. I’m obsessed with scrubbing my face until it’s squeaky clean. The face wash bar at the bottom left was a random shop purchase in Santorini, Greece and I absolutely adore it. I could not tell you why I decided to buy a donkey milk face wash on vacation, I must’ve watched those critters climb the stairs up into the city too many times and had one too many drinks because here I was in the hotel, the proud owner of a donkey milk face wash that I didn’t use until now and felt almost disgusted by the idea of at first. HOWEVER, this thing is magic, my face is so soft and clean feeling. If I don’t find something I like when this bar is gone, I will be ordering a whole ship of White Donkey Pomegranate Soap straight from Greece.

I’m looking forward to using up the products that were in my shower and I’m actually excited that this is what my shower will look like rather than being a disorganized mess of half-used conditioners and empty shampoo bottles with tons of little body and face wash products anywhere theres a free spot – the struggle is real and showers never come with enough space for us to sit all the things we think we need.

Are you mindful of the waste you roll out for the garbage truck every week? Do you have favorite waste-free products that you swear by? I’m by no means an expert at this but the transition seems easier than I thought so far. I hope to dive into waste-free kitchen and food products next – please leave me any tips you might have!

 

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