Are Candles Bad for the Environment? Their Eco Impact
Candles have burned their way alongside ancient civilizations over the course of millenia, providing warmth, light, and ambiance. But have you ever considered the potential environmental impact of these small yet powerful creations? For Earth Month, we’re shedding light on the impact candles have on the environment and explore ways you can make a positive difference, all without having to sacrifice your love for our candles!
The materials used in candle-making
Candles can be made from a variety of materials, each with its own environmental impact. Some of the most common materials used in candle-making include paraffin wax, beeswax, soy wax, and palm wax.
- Paraffin wax is a petroleum byproduct and is often the cheapest option, but it can produce harmful chemicals when burned.
- Beeswax, while more expensive, is a natural and renewable resource that does not produce harmful chemicals.
- Soy wax is another eco-friendly option made from soybeans, but it can also have negative environmental impacts if the soybeans are grown using pesticides or if they come from genetically modified plants.
- Palm wax, made from palm oil, can contribute to deforestation and harm wildlife if it is not sustainably sourced.
It’s important to consider the source and sustainability of the materials used in candles to minimize the environmental impact. At La Lueur, we use a blend of eco-friendly waxes like coconut wax and apricot wax that are derived from coconut pulp and apricot kernels, which are renewable sources. Coconut wax is a high yield renewable crop that makes it a great sustainable option. Even the process of making coconut wax is highly eco-friendly, made without harsh chemicals or pollutants and does little harm to the environment when disposed of. Apricot wax also does not harm the environment and helps with the scent throw of our candles.
The impact of candles on air quality
Burning candles may create a cozy atmosphere in your home, but it’s important to be aware of their impact on air quality. When burned, candles can release harmful chemicals and particles that can negatively affect indoor air quality. In particular, candles made from paraffin wax can produce chemicals like benzene and toluene which can cause respiratory issues and worsen allergies or asthma symptoms.
Proper ventilation is important when burning candles, and it is best to avoid burning too many at once to minimize their impact on air quality. Understanding the impact of candles on air quality is crucial in making an informed and eco-friendly decision when choosing the type of candle to use.
The impact of candles on water quality
Candles can have a significant impact not only on air quality but also on water quality. The vast majority of candles are made with paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum. When paraffin wax candles are burned, they release chemicals into the air that can also contribute to water pollution. How does this happen? They eventually settle on surfaces and can be washed away by rainwater or other forms of precipitation. Once they reach the water, they negatively impact aquatic life.
The chemicals released from candles can cause harm to fish and other aquatic organisms, altering their reproductive cycles, behavior, and growth patterns. Additionally, the particles and chemicals can also clog the gills of some marine animals or cause respiratory problems in others.
Choosing candles made from natural materials, such as coconut and vegetable waxes like ours, is a safer option, both for air and water quality.
Ways to reduce your carbon footprint when using candles
When it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, even small changes can make a big difference. Here are some ways to enjoy candles while still being kind to the environment:
- Choose natural materials: Look for candles made from beeswax, soy wax, coconut wax, apricot wax or vegetable-based waxes. These materials are biodegradable and do not contain harmful chemicals. Choosing the right blend of waxes that did not cause damage to the environment and allowed for a superior burning experience was our highest priority when creating La Lueur candles.
- Avoid paraffin candles: Paraffin wax is derived from petroleum, a non-renewable resource that produces harmful emissions when burned. Avoiding paraffin candles can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
- Opt for non-toxic fragrance: Many candles contain fragrances that can be concocted from any of the fragrance industry’s 3,000+ chemical ingredients and are never disclosed to the consumer. Many of these release harmful chemicals when burned, but the average consumer wouldn’t know how to decipher the convoluted research behind each to be able to make an informed decision. The solution? Look for candles scented with essential oils or clean fragrance that is mindfully sourced like ours.
- Use reusable or recyclable candle holders: Instead of buying disposable candle holders, choose options that can be reused or recycled. Be sure to check out our post on ways to recycle your La Lueur candle vessel here!
- Trim the wick: Keeping the wick of your candle trimmed to ¼ inch can help reduce soot and smoke, as well as extend the life of your candle.
Candles may seem like a small indulgence that stays confined within the walls of our homes, but their impact on the environment and the entire ecosystem is undeniable. From the materials used to make them to the pollution they create when burned, candles contribute in significant ways to our carbon footprint. By selecting candles made from sustainable materials, burning them sparingly and properly disposing of them, you CAN make a difference.
La Lueur candles are made of natural Coconut Wax Blend, 100% cotton wicks, and premium fragrance oils free of Parabens, Phthalates, and Sulfates. Every candle is still hand poured and crafted to perfection in artisanal, luxe vessels that can turn any room from drab to chic. Don’t miss out on our Spring Sale as we make way for new scents!