Burning Bright and Clean: Eco-Friendly Candles

Burning Bright and Clean: Eco-Friendly Candles

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photo: Emilian Robert

Candles are a great way to instill ambience and provide subtle aroma in any room. Scented candles specifically mark special events in our lives, which is why candles are most popular during the holidays. While the most beautifully colored and scented candles are available anywhere and can be bought at low prices, many of them may contain chemicals that harm human health and the environment.  Conventional candles are generally made from paraffin, which is a group of petroleum products. Since paraffin is a petroleum product, it may contain toxins like benzene and acetone. When burned in candles, these toxins can pollute indoor air with unhealthy fumes and soot.

The good news is that there are green alternatives to paraffin candles. These ‘clean and green’ candles are made from renewable resources, burn for a longer time, and do not emit toxic soot or smoke. These candles are available in your local stores or in shops that specialize in sustainable, eco-friendly products. Here are the three Earth-friendliest candles you can use today:

Beeswax
Beeswax candles are the most popular naturally based candles. They burn for a longer time and produce clean, honey-scented smoke. High-quality beeswax made from pure beeswax is relatively dripless if kept out of drafts. Beeswax is the only naturally occurring wax on our planet. It’s a true, autonomous wax that does not require processing or synthetic ingredients to become a wax. One hundred percent beeswax candles are the best types of beeswax candles you can get. They do not contain synthetic additives and hardeners that are typically used to make petroleum-based candles. Avoid buying the dull brown beeswax as it may contain impurities or chemical residues. Go for beeswax candles that are naturally filtered to a creamy color or have the original buttery color.

Palm Wax
How would you like to try candles that are made from the fruit and berries of palm trees? Just like pure beeswax candles, one hundred percent palm wax candles burn long and clean. These candles are also derived from a renewable source. If you are concerned about palm industry practices, you may want to check for news and updates regarding this. There are candle makers, however, who ensure that the ingredients they use are sourced from ecologically responsible farmers who do not slash and burn forest trees.

Soy Wax
Soy-based products are commonly used to produce eco-friendly materials. It’s no wonder that soy wax is used as well to make eco-friendly candles. Soy wax candles are made with soybeans. They burn cleaner and longer than paraffin candles, emit less soot, and do not diffuse carcinogenic fumes into the air. All these qualities make soy wax candles a great renewable candle option.

When choosing eco-friendly candles, you may also want to check if the candle manufacturer uses paper-core or cotton wicks. These kinds of wick burn brightly and cleanly. Paraffin-based candles normally use synthetic wicks with cores of metal or zinc. They are cheap and stiff, but they emit toxic soot, smoke, and lead. Burning lead-wicked candles once a week can contaminate kids’ blood beyond acceptable levels. If you believe that you have purchased candles with synthetic wicks, you can peel back the wick fiber and check if there is any metallic material underneath. To check for lead, rub the peeled wick on a piece of white paper. If it leaves a gray smudge, it likely contains lead. Do not burn that candle and properly dispose of it.

Natural candles like those made from soy, palm, or pure beeswax are the best green choices because they burn cleanly, biodegrade, and are made with renewable resources. With these naturally based candles, you are sure to enjoy both the ambience you want and the healthy indoor air you deserve.
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