Did you know that the candles you purchase in the store could leave your baby susceptible to indoor air pollution? Other candle types contribute to the deforestation of already hurting third-world countries. Is there an eco-friendly, conflict-free alternative that you can make on craft night? Below, we will look at how you can ensure your DIY candles are easy on the environment and on your pocketbook.
What to Avoid when Making Candles
A petroleum/paraffin base is used to make many of the candles found in high-end stores. It may not surprise you to hear that this wax is not good for Mother Earth. However, it is popular because it allows candle makers to charge relatively low prices. Paraffin is a byproduct of the petroleum refining process, therefore it is a non-renewable source. Plus, it emits harmful elements into the atmosphere.
The main wax body of the candle is just part of the eco-friendly equation. The wick and sustainer can also have a big impact. Lead or zinc is often used in many candles, and both of these alternatives let off harmful gases. Due to the health dangers they pose, lead wick sustainers are outlawed in several countries. However, this law is not always enforced, so they continue to be made and sold.
Lastly, you need to consider the packaging. Avoid buying candle making materials that come in non-recyclable packaging. At the very least, choose post-consumer packaging made from recycled materials.
First, let’s consider the best waxes. For the most part, you should avoid paraffin for reasons outlined above and palm oil wax because it contributes to deforestation. Beeswax is a little bit better because it is all natural and doesn’t contain any harmful additives. You do not need to melt the wax to make beeswax candles. One simple, environmentally friendly solution is beeswax sheets. The problem with beeswax, though, is that removing this material may be harmful to already vulnerable bee colonies.
The best option currently is soy wax, which is basically just hydrogenated soybean oil. Adding the melted soy wax to containers is the best way to make attractive candle displays. You do need to be careful about what soy wax you purchase since most of the world’s soy crops are grown using GMO-filled seeds and plenty of pesticides. Therefore, look for certified non-GMO, organic soy wax.
Keep Other Components Green
There are several suitable products available that keep the rest of your candle assembly green. For instance, look for wick sustainers that are made of recycled metals. Conversely, if you use aluminum sustainers (and separate them from the other materials), you can reuse or recycle them. Cotton wicks are also ideal and easy to find.
Lastly, one of the easiest ways to make candles is to pour the wax into a container. Do not go out and buy new containers specifically for this purpose. Instead, consider repurposing old mugs with broken handles, cleaned pasta sauce jars, or secondhand mason jars.
With the tips above, you will be well on your way to having a responsible candle making party.