Weekly Tip 77 – Try Sustainable Candles to Lighten Your Footprint

Not all candles are sustainable

Winter is coming…


No, we aren’t reviewing the new Game of Thrones series, winter really is on its way and with rising energy prices and the potential for power cuts, lots of people will be turning to candles to light their way.


Even if you just use a smelly candle to relax whilst having a bath and a glass of wine, or to set the scene for a romantic evening, candles are a staple of every household.


But did you know that candles can have a significant impact on the environment and not all candles are made sustainably?

An interesting history

While the wicked candle was used by the Egyptians about 3,000 B.C., it is generally believed that the ancient Romans developed the candle into something similar to today’s, by repeatedly dipping folded papyrus in melted tallow or beeswax (so until recently the raw materials of a candle were derived from the plant and animal kingdom).


The resulting candles were used in religious rituals, home lighting, and night-time travel assistance.


After chemists figured out how to effectively remove the naturally occurring waxy component from petroleum and refine it, paraffin wax was created in the 1850s.


Paraffin, which is odourless and bluish-white, was a benefit to the candle industry since it burnt consistently clean and cost less to create than any other candle fuel.

The environmental impact of candles

This is where the problem lies!


Unless otherwise specified, paraffin wax makes up most conventional candles.


This substance is a cause for concern because it is a petroleum-based by-product of the oil industry.


By purchasing candles made of paraffin, you are assisting the oil industry.


The use of paraffin wax, a fossil fuel waste, is very unsustainable.


Crude oil, which is used to make paraffin wax, is known for having detrimental effects on the environment, including habitat destruction, oil spills, and, of course, climate change.


Burning paraffin wax also worsens the environmental impact already caused by paraffin wax extraction.


This wax produces a lot of particulate pollution because it is a petroleum product, which causes air pollution.

It's not just paraffin

Scents are also an issue and are often chemical based and can release harmful toxins into the atmosphere, making your holiday candles’ lovely aroma take on a somewhat sinister twist.


Lighting a candle without fully understanding what you’re kindling can be a serious problem.


If you don’t even know what’s in a product, how can you tell how environmentally friendly it is?


It’s also a good idea to try and avoid non-organic cotton wicks as conventionally grown cotton is notorious for releasing harmful pesticides, and fertilisers, and having huge water use.


Choosing organic also helps to preserve natural biodiversity.

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How to tell if a candle is sustainable

The simplest way is to check the ingredients on the manufacturer’s website or buy candles from a reputable vegan or sustainable supplier (or both).


Look for organic cotton wicks, natural ingredients and wax made from none GM soya or ethically sourced beeswax.


Packaging is also something to consider as plastic or paper packaging creates a bigger unnecessary footprint.


Either buy candles with no packaging or ones that come in a glass jar.


Glass is highly recyclable and can be reused and repurposed by you within your home if you want to reduce your footprint even further.

Some of our favourite sustainable candles

Play It Green’s team love sustainable candles and here are some of our favourite brands you can try with a clear conscience.


Lit candles are made from pure essential oils and rapeseed wax and feature evocative, uplifting scents.


We especially like the pink grapefruit, basil, and lavender combination, as well as geranium, sweet orange, and coriander.


Another of our favourite candle brands is The New Flame Co.


Their candles are handcrafted from a luxurious blend of natural coconut, soy, and beeswax, as well as fragrances from natural oils. 

The final sustainable candle we love comes from Riversdale Essence and is one of our personal favourites.


The natural wax candles are vegan, bio-degradable, are slower burning and last longer. You should try their Heathland Pine candle – it’s lovely.


That’s it for this week – we hope you have learned something and it helps you make an informed decision on making more sustainable decisions.


With that in mind, our friends at Riversdale Essence have sent a discount code so that all Play It Green readers can try a sustainable candle and save some money!


Simply head over to their website and use voucher code PLAYITGREEN for 10% off your purchases.

We hope you enjoy our content

You can use the button below to join our geren community and take your next step to a more sustainable future.


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