Now that the snow has settled, below zero weather has hit and the holiday season is upon us, many people turn to one of the highest consumer products: candles. Whether it’s for a lovely smell, a cozy lighting choice or a gift for a friend, candles are undoubtedly the most popular product of this time. Unfortunately, the majority of candles are made with wasteful packaging and harmful chemicals.
Many candle brands make paraffin candles that are petroleum products, meaning they are made from non-renewable sources. Like most non-renewable resources, the chemicals that are produced are harmful when burned. The wick itself often contains additives like lead and zinc that release toxic gasses and the packaging is mostly individual and contains plastic. Even the mode used to light the candles is wasteful as plenty of travel lighters cannot be recycled and go straight to the trash.
Thankfully, there are numerous ways you can ensure that your candle needs are met while still making the most environmentally friendly choice!
Buy from local/eco-friendly candle shops
Wherever you are, if you simply google local stores there will be a good chance of finding at least one that you can support by purchasing their products. You will also reduce carbon emissions from transportation and ensure that the packaging is the least robust. If local isn’t possible, the next best thing is to buy from specifically eco-friendly brands. Companies that focus their efforts on producing candles that are non-toxic and are wrapped in recycled materials are all over the world, so finding one that is closest to you so as to lessen your carbon footprint.
Make your own candles
Though it sounds complex, making candles can be just like any other DIY project you’ve undertaken in 2020. There are only a few things needed to make candles: wax, wick, container and a hot stove. When looking for wax, try to buy local beeswax or soy in order to ensure that you aren’t bringing pollutants into your home. When looking for a container, try repurposing an empty jelly jar or a previously used candle tumbler. Making candles at home is a great way to relax, enjoy an activity with friends or family and keep candle shopping green.
Buy beeswax candles
While soy wax is a great choice, an even better choice is beeswax. Although beeswax can be on the pricey side, it is the most natural choice and maintains bees (and beekeepers alike) busy. In addition, beeswax emits negative ions that work to cleanse and improve air quality. Not only will your beeswax candle originate from a renewable source that is hypoallergenic, but it will also burn brighter than most candles made of other materials.
Switch to matches or firesteel
When going green in your candle endeavours it is important to consider other wasteful factors. Disposable lighters can’t be recycled as a result of the butane that makes them impossible to process even if they have been cleaned thoroughly and end up in landfills or oceans. Take this as a sign to make a switch. Matches are fully biodegradable but are products of trees bringing in another world of problems. A better option is a firesteel which consists of a striker and the firesteel rod. The motion is quite like lighting a match; you simply grind striker across the rod to create a spark. If alternative candle options aren’t possible for you, making the small switch to a more eco-friendly lighting choice is a great start.
Overall, the options are varied and have many different benefits. It may seem like there are larger problems to tackle in the realm of going green, starting small can lead to a greater effect in ditching throwaway candle culture. So which consumer candle alternative are you going to choose this holiday season?
P.S – An eco-friendly shop to start you off
An up and coming hidden gem is the family-owned company called Siblings Co. They provide customers with plant-based baggies with eco-friendly scented wax that they can safely melt in the microwave and proceed to pour into repurposed candle vessels. Their wax is a blend of coconut and soy products creating a safer candle experience when burned. Siblings Co also has affordable prices and all kinds of different accessories for purchase (wicks, jars etc.). The packaging takes 16 weeks to break down and the coconut trees absorb 24 tons of carbon per hectare per year. These numbers are only proof of the wonderful efforts the company has made and with your help can continue to make.