Let’s face it. We live in a time when people are becoming much more concerned about the planet. Consumers are always looking for new products that are ethically sourced and friendly to the environment, and manufacturers are consistently trying to find the best ways to give their customers what they want. The same applies to candles. Petroleum-based paraffin wax is found in most candles, and it is harmful to the environment. So are cotton wicks, which are usually covered in pesticides. There must be a way to enjoy the benefits of candles while also being an environmentally responsible consumer. Fortunately, there is.
There are several options available for eco-friendly wax. Soy wax is the most eco-friendly wax for candles. Ethically sourced beeswax is also kind to the environment. Stearin wax is usually made from palm oil and is another great option. Two other waxes that are kind to the planet are carnauba wax and candelilla l, which are taken from shrubs found in Mexico and the Southwestern United States.
Let’s read along and discover what makes these five unique waxes a much better option than petroleum-based waxes. I will also include a section on eco-friendly options for wicks, as well as environmentally-friendly and ethical ways to scent your candles that are much better for the earth than the traditional, chemical-laden fragrances found in most mass-produced candles.
Soy wax is quite possibly the best eco-friendly replacement for petroleum-based waxes, which are detrimental to the environment. This is because of both the sustainability and the availability of this product. According to Candle Science, soy wax is created by using the oil that comes from the soybean after it is cleaned, hulled, rolled into flakes, and hydrogenated… After this process, the oil is extracted from these flakes.
Once the fatty acids from the oil are hydrogenated, they become saturated, which has a significant effect on the melting point of the oil. This makes soybean wax solid at room temperature, which makes it ideal to use for candles. This wax can be used in combination with other natural oils or even mixed with paraffin to form a substance known as parsay wax. This is done to limit the effect that paraffin has on the planet.
Perhaps the most substantial benefit to using soy wax is that it is completely renewable, which makes it the best choice for an eco-friendly solution for the environment.
Ethically Sourced Beeswax
Although beeswax may be a slightly controversial topic according to vegans, it is considered to be an acceptable alternative to traditional waxes which are made from petroleum byproducts. According to Pandorable Wellness, beeswax is a wax that is removed from the beehive. However, one reason that it is not as sustainable as soy wax is that bees must consume six pounds of honey to create one pound of wax.
Worker bees create wax by consuming honey and secreting small amounts of wax from glands located near the abdomen. These small drops of wax are called flakes. For this reason, most strict vegans avoid using products made from beeswax. However, some farms are cruelty-free and ethically source their beeswax in a manner that benefits both the bees and the environment.
Although it is not considered to be as sustainable as soy wax, beeswax can be used as an alternative to other waxes that are harmful to your health and the earth. I recommend that you use beeswax products that come from small farms where bees are treated ethically.
While some stearin wax is created by using the stearic acid found in animal fat, it can also be made by using the natural fats found in some vegetables. Per Shamrock Candles, this wax can be extracted from the oils found in coconuts and palms nuts. The stearic acid produced by these oils is a white, granular product that can be purchased in flakes or a powder. These dissolve easily and can be used for candles by mixing them with other waxes.
Palm stearin is also a good alternative for strict vegans who prefer not to use products that are made from animals, such as the stearic acid extracted from fish and animal fat. By using the oil extracted from coconuts and palm nuts, many candle manufacturers are making an effort to have a significantly lower impact on the environment through the use of sustainable and natural products.
One of the most important reasons why stearin wax is used in candle making is that it burns much slower than other waxes. This makes your candles last longer, which benefits the environment and your wallet.
Carnauba wax is also known as Brazil wax and comes from the leaves of the palm tree. Per Wikipedia, carnauba wax is grown exclusively in the Brazilian states of Ceará, Piauí, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Maranhão, and Bahia. This wax is collected by drying the leaves of the palm tree, drying them, and then beating them to collect the wax. The wax is then bleached and refined before it is used in products like candles.
Although carnauba wax is a natural and sustainable product, its brittle properties do not make it an ideal ingredient to make candles solely from it. Therefore, it is usually used in combination with other waxes when making candles. This wax is also eco-friendly, thanks to the Initiative for Responsible Carnauba (IRC), which ensures biodiversity and is adamant about protecting the rights of the workers who collect it.
Carnauba wax is a great alternative to petroleum-based oils that are used in traditional candles. This is especially good for the earth, as well as the people who live on it.
This hard, brittle wax comes from the leaves of the candelilla shrub and is known for its pleasant fragrance. Native to Texas and Northern New Mexico in the United States, this flowering plant is a sustainable and vegan-friendly alternative for candles if you are concerned about the environment. This shrub can also be found in Mexico, specifically located in Chihuahua, Coahuila, Hidalgo, and Querétar.
There has been a rise in the popularity of candelilla wax recently. As over 900 tons of this product is produced annually. It is highly sustainable, which makes this substance eco-friendly, and because it is derived from plants, candelilla wax is also vegan friendly. However, there is one problem with using this wax for candles. Because of its low melting point, candelilla wax is usually combined with other waxes in candle making.
If you are looking for a candle that is both friendly to the environment and a great fit for strict vegans. You can’t go wrong with buying candles that are made with candelilla wax.
Eco-Friendly Wicks and Scents
Being environmentally friendly may start with the type of wax that your candles are made from; but it certainly does not end there. Cotton wicks are usually soaked in pesticides. Which are not only harmful to the environment but can also be harmful to your health. One popular choice that environmentally-friendly candle makers are now using to replace cotton wicks is wooden wicks. When you are ready to extinguish the flame of your candle. Quickly dipping it in melted wax is also better for the earth and your health than blowing out the candle.
The majority of mass-produced candles are scented with harmful chemicals which are not exactly eco-friendly. And they can also pose a risk to your well-being. This poses a conundrum because although you have the option of purchasing unscented candles. Most people will tell you that most of the enjoyment they get from burning candles is the intoxicating aroma; that fills your space with a pleasant fragrance. However, there is a fairly easy solution to this problem. Using essential oils to scent your candles is not only better for the earth, but it also smells much better as well.
In conclusion, several types of wax are available to use for candles; that are both friendly to the environment and much better for your health than traditional petroleum-based waxes such as paraffin. Due to its sustainability and availability, soy wax is the most eco-friendly wax; you can use as a replacement for waxes that are harmful to the planet. However, several other options can be used, and are now readily available to purchase in most candle shops and through online retailers.
Ethically sourced beeswax is also a popular option; for paraffin wax, as well as palm stearin, which is made from the oils found in coconuts and palm nuts. Carnauba wax has also been gaining traction in candles because it is environmentally friendly. Last (but not least) is candelilla; which comes from bushes and shrubs that are found in both Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Wooden wicks are also much better for your health and the environment than cotton wicks; and essential oils are a fantastic replacement for scenting candles, as opposed to those made of chemicals.
There is a plethora of options available if you are a candle enthusiast and are also conscious of the environment. So, light those candles and relax, knowing that you are doing your part to help the planet.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which candle waxes are biodegradable?
Any wax that is created from vegetables or other organic products is considered to be biodegradable. Most candle waxes are made from these materials, most candles fall into the category of being biodegradable.
Which waxes are the most sustainable waxes for making candles?
Most plant-based waxes are highly sustainable, but the two most sustainable waxes used for making candles are coconut wax and beeswax. They are great for the environment because they burn cleanly and slowly.
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Meet Shawn Chun: Entrepreneur and Candle Business Fan.
I’m a happy individual who happens to be an entrepreneur. I have owned several types of businesses in my life from a coffee shop to an import and export business to an online review business plus a few more and now I create online candle business resources for those interested in starting new ventures. It’s demanding work but I love it. I do it for those passionate about their business and their goals. That’s why when I meet a candle business owner at a craft fair, farmers market, retail location or anywhere else I see myself. I know how hard the struggle is to obtain and retain clients, finding good employees all while trying to stay competitive. That’s why I created Candle Business Boss: I want to help candle business owners like you build a thriving business that brings you endless joy and supports your ideal lifestyle.