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Sustainable Candles: A Green Glow



There is nothing quite like the flamelet of a candle that lightens the atmosphere— both literally and figuratively. Candles are adored for their soothing, aromatic properties, incorporated into our daily lives in the forms of home decor, cultural practices, or luxury gifts. Unfortunately, most candles we see on supermarket shelves are composed of paraffin wax, an unsustainable material known to emit greenhouse gasses. It is time to consider purchasing greener alternatives to conventional candles. Since the issue lies in the material of the candle and not the candle itself, simply changing the wax of choice will vastly reduce its environmental damage. In particular, this article will address the possibility of using soy wax and beeswax as natural wax candles.


Soy waxes may be a strong option for your next candle as they are environmentally friendly in multiple ways. Soy wax, by nature, is renewable; its chemical composition allows it to decompose naturally, and the crops used in their manufacturing can be replenished via farming practices. The wax derives from soybean plants, an origin of lower carbon than petroleum oil. While in use, soy candles tend to last longer than those made with paraffin waxes, thus requiring infrequent replacements. Soy wax is non-toxic as well, producing minimal soot and releasing fewer toxins when burned. Don’t let the slightly higher cost relative to paraffin wax discourage you— soy wax is marked by its superior sustainability and may even be more beneficial in the long run.


Beeswax candles have a high melting point (61°C to 66°C), thus able to withstand hot temperatures. With a density of 0.958, beeswax is also known to burn slowly and be nearly dripless. While such advantages are noteworthy, the wax is best known for influencing the environment positively. Unlike other candle ingredients that deplete natural resources to create, beeswax is the substance left over after beekeepers extract honey. Since beeswax comes from honeybees, an organic source, its candles are also non-toxic and free of chemical by-products. In fact, beeswax has an air-purifying quality, as opposed to paraffin wax, which emits carcinogenic substances. Beeswax candles, when burned, release negatively charged ions that bind with and neutralize pollutants. Beeswax is, therefore, a sustainable material for candles,  manufactured from a renewable industry and devoid of synthetic fragrances or artificial dyes.


So, the next time you are out shopping for a new candle, heed the labels on the back. Is it made of paraffin or soy wax? Beeswax, perhaps? While cheaper paraffin products may be tempting, your prudent consumption can contribute to a greener society. After all, lighting a candle is possible without damaging the environment.


Works Cited

Flores, Christine. “What Makes Beeswax Candles so Great? - BeeswaxCo.com.” The Beeswax Co., 1 September 2017, https://beeswaxco.com/beeswax-candles/makes-beeswax-candles-great/.


Millar, Suzanne. “Why beeswax candles are better – ScottishBeeCompany.” Scottish Bee Company, 25 January 2021, https://www.scottishbeecompany.co.uk/blogs/news/why-beeswax-candles-are-better.


National Honey Board. “Honey Industry Facts.” National Honey Board, https://www.honey.com/newsroom/presskit/honey-industry-facts.


Our Endangered World. “Is Paraffin Wax Bad for the Environment?” Our Endangered World, 28 July 2023, https://www.ourendangeredworld.com/is-paraffin-wax-bad/.


Rinkesh. “Are Candles Bad For the Environment?” Conserve Energy Future, https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/are-candles-bad-for-environment.php.


Waxkind Home Fragrance. “Is Soy Wax Really Eco-Friendly? – Waxkind.” Waxkind, 7 November 2023, https://waxkind.co.uk/blogs/news/is-soy-wax-really-eco-friendly.

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