In this article, we’ll explore how candles can impact the environment and share some eco-friendly options that can make a positive difference. Let's learn together how to enjoy the cozy atmosphere of candles without harming the planet!
Candles are such a wonderful way to create a warm and inviting atmosphere in a home… quite often they’re the final touch to a space that makes it feel complete. However, what many do not consider when burning candles is the impact they can have on our health and the planet. Don't worry, we're here to help!
What impact do candles have on the environment?Candles can have an impact on the environment in a number of ways:
- Toxic Candle Wax - For example, paraffin wax (one of the most commonly used waxes in candles) is made from petroleum and can release harmful chemicals when burned, contributing to indoor air pollution. In addition, palm wax (made from palm oil) can also be harmful due to the deforestation it causes and the additives it may contain. Lastly, synthetic waxes, such as gels and crystals, can also be toxic and release harmful fumes when burned.
- Harmful Synthetic Fragrances - Some candles release harmful chemicals into the air, including carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, due to the toxic synthetic fragrances commonly used in many different brands of candles. This not only contributes to air pollution in the environment but can also have negative impacts on our health. Furthermore, the manufacturing process of synthetic fragrances can also release harmful chemicals into the air and waterways, further damaging the environment.
- Single-Use Candle Jars - Over 1 billion single-use candles are produced annually, with most ending up in landfills and taking thousands of years to decompose. For example, glass candle jars can take over 4,000 years to decompose! In addition, candle jar production requires a lot of energy, water, and raw materials, and the transportation of these heavy products can also contribute to higher carbon emissions.
Overall, the impact of candles on the environment can be significant. Let’s dive into some more eco-friendly solutions to consider when shopping for candles for your home!
Encouraging eco-friendly candle production practices
As consumers, we have the power to encourage more environmentally-friendly candle production practices from the businesses we support. Choose brands that prioritize sustainability and use environmentally conscious materials, ingredients, packaging, and shipping. Instead of shopping for just the most convenient candle from a big brand, try shopping local or doing research online first. Also, share information about eco-friendly candle options with your friends and family! Encourage them to make sustainable choices when it comes to candles and other products.
Try a refillable candle
Choosing a refillable and reusable candle option is a great way to reduce waste and minimize your environmental impact. Arbor Made is proud to be the first to offer zero-waste, refillable candles with our patented jar design. Our custom candle refills are made of 100% natural soy wax, nontoxic fragrances, and are hand-poured right here in Michigan. We created our candles to be better for both you and the environment, and are extremely intentional with every ingredient, material, and decision we make as a business. For example, not only are our candles refillable and made with eco-friendly ingredients, but also we use compostable packaging, ship carbon-neutral, AND donate a portion of each sale to environmental nonprofits! You can read more about our sustainability initiatives here.
Other eco-friendly candle options
If our refillable candles aren’t quite what you’re looking for, there are also some other eco-friendly alternatives to traditional single-use candles as well. For example, some local candlemakers offer jar refill programs where you can go into their stores in-person and hand back your used jars to be cleaned out and refilled by the shop. But be cautious of getting glass jars refilled often - as they can shatter after repeated use.
Another option: Make your own candles at home!
Though it can take quite some time, making your own candles at home can be a fun and eco-friendly way to enjoy this cozy tradition while minimizing your environmental impact. By using natural and sustainable ingredients that you source yourself such as soy wax, beeswax, and nontoxic candle fragrances and essential oils, you can create candles that are free from harmful chemicals and don't contribute to pollution or greenhouse gas emissions. If you have plenty of time on hand, this is a great way to control the amount of waste you make with candles. There are a handful of tutorials on how to clean out candle jars so they can be refilled or repurposed. Again, you’ll want to be careful reheating glass jars too often, as they can shatter from repeated use. Additionally, a couple creative ways to reuse old candle jars in your home include as pencil holders, small plant pots, etc.
In conclusion, it is clear that candles can have a significant impact on the environment. From production to disposal, it is important to consider the choices we make when it comes to candles. By making conscious choices, we can enjoy the cozy and warm ambiance of candles while also contributing to a better planet. If you’d like to learn more about our refillable & sustainable candles, you can check them out here: Arbor Made Refillable Candles.