How sustainable are candles?
Whether we use them on birthdays, for decoration or to give someone as a gift – candles are popular all around the world. I personally pick my candles based on how they smell and the price. I never really thought about where the material they are made from comes from and what the environmental impact is.
But after a little research, I found out that most of the candles I own and buy are not very environmentally friendly. Most cheaper candles are made from paraffin wax and paraffin is made from fossil fuels. So you’re basically burning fossil fuels in your own home and therefore not only polluting the planet but also your house. Combined with the fragrances used for making the candles smell good and the mostly unsustainable packaging, candles can be really harmful to the environment. Additionally, the fragrances that are used are often toxic and burning paraffin releases chemicals that can be dangerous for your health if inhaled directly. Of course, the advantage of using paraffin is that it is cheaper than other materials and easy to work with. However, there are some more sustainable alternatives that are still affordable and smell just as good.
One alternative are candles made from soy wax, which is natural wax that is derived from soybeans. One advantage of this type of wax is that it actually burns slower than paraffin wax, so even though these candles might be a little more pricy than normal ones, they also last longer. Additionally, it carries fragrances better than paraffin, so no chemical amplifiers are needed and scents come mainly from essential oils. Another cool things is that the wax doesn’t get super hot and due to it being natural oil, the liquid wax can be used as lotion for dry hands! One more good alternative are candles made from bees wax. It is natural, biodegradable, and it burns slow. It also cleans the air by neutralising toxins and doesn’t create smoke. Their natural colour is yellow and they have a natural honey smell, so they are already pretty and smell good without any additions.
If you want to make the experience even more sustainable, you can recycle or reuse the jars your candles come in. To get the remaining wax out of the jar just freeze it for a couple of hours and then it should be easy to get the wax out with a knife. Then, they can be used for almost anything: as plant pots, pencil holders, flower vases or for organizing.
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