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Who doesn’t love some good homemade candles in their house? And this year, it’s been all about sustainable candle making. No more harsh and environmentally-damaging ingredients. No more plastic containers and packaging. Only high quality, natural ingredients and beautiful, reusable jars and holders. With sustainability in mind, candle making classes in Melbourne have become very popular and we think the trend is just beginning.
In this article, we’re going to get into specifics about what makes a candle sustainable, and why we should be worried about sustainability in our candles in the first place. Before you know it, you’re going to be giving homemade candles to all of your loved ones for the holidays, birthdays, and for no other reason than to put a smile on a friend’s face.
You may be asking yourself why there’s this sudden shift from store-bought candles to sustainable homemade candles. Let’s talk about some of the downsides to buying your candles from big department stores or online. First, there are the ingredients.
Many store-bought candles are made from paraffin wax, which comes from crude oil. The process of mining the oil and converting it into the wax is unsustainable and environmentally damaging. On top of that, breathing in the fumes of paraffin wax are a safety hazard for workers. You can imagine what happens, then, when you burn paraffin wax candles in your home. According to researchers, burning paraffin wax releases chemicals and can lead to health issues with prolonged use. It’s simply not a feel-good ingredient for anyone.
The scents are another issue. Fragrances of store-bought candles are usually a mix of hazardous materials which are released into the air when you burn your candle. Toluene and benzene are the two most dangerous chemicals that can be found in synthetic candle fragrances.
The other issue to consider with store-bought candles is the environmental impact of large-scale manufacturing, packaging, and shipping. Candles have become a huge global commodity, and the result is an equally large environmental impact.
Okay, so we’re all on the same page about paraffin wax and synthetic fragrance, right? So, how can you know that your candles are better for the environment?
Let’s start with wax
Beeswax, palm wax and soy wax are three common candle alternatives, and there are pros and cons for each.
Another consideration that goes into environmentally friendly candles is the scent. You can achieve amazing fragrances by using natural ingredients, so make sure that your candles steer clear of synthetic scents. Essential oils, for instance, are 100% natural. They come from distilling aromatic plants into a concentrated form without adding any chemicals.
The only thing to keep in mind about essential oils is that, while the process is natural, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s sustainable. It can take quite a lot of natural materials to produce some essential oils, so it’s important to limit the use of certain types. Sandalwood and atlas cedarwood, for instance, are two trees that are at risk for overharvesting primarily for use in essential oils.
When thinking about the kinds of fragrances you want in your candles, it can be helpful to read more about how effective the distillation process is for a particular scent. Lavender plants, for instance, produce a much higher volume of essential oil than most trees.
Finally, there’s the candle receptacle. Sure, you can go out and buy glass containers for your candles, but it’s much better to upcycle or reuse materials that you already have.
Glass and porcelain containers can be reused over and over so there’s no reason to ever throw them out (even if there’s a little wax stuck to the bottom!) And, once you start making your own homemade candles at home, you’ll find yourself keeping an eye out for potential candle containers. Old instant coffee glass jars, discarded mason jars, old porcelain teacups, whatever you can find that can resist heat will be perfect for your soy candles.
One thing that you don’t want to do is pour your eco candle into a plastic container, such as a plastic tea light cup. These containers are cheap, but they’re not good for the environment and will likely be thrown out after one use.
If you’re a candle lover, learning about sustainable practices is going to make you feel better about the candles you have in your home. Making your own sustainable candles is a fun and creative hobby and there’s no better way to get started than trying out an eco candle making class.
Once you learn the basics, you can start experimenting with fragrance combinations and finding beautiful containers for your candles. And, in the process, you’ll have gifts to share with friends and loved ones, which is great all year long and especially around holidays and birthdays!