Green tips: what type of candles should we choose?
WHAT TYPE OF CANDLES SHOULD WE CHOOSE?
Candles create a cozy and soothing environment and change your being both physically and mentally lighter. But what type of candle is the best choice for both the environment and your health?
There is a wide variety to choose from so it is not so easy to give a single answer. Candles are made out of paraffin , stearin, various vegetable waxes, but also beeswax.
The most common and affordable is a paraffin candle made out of petroleum industry residues. The burning process of each candle produces soot particles, which are toxic in case of oil-based candles. Soot damages airways, especially of those who suffer from asthma or other respiratory diseases. However, the most harmful substances come from candle paint, varnish or synthetic fragrances. Like other products, there are both high-quality and very cheap paraffin candles – the latter should be avoided.
Stearin candles are more expensive than paraffin candles and are usually made from palm oil, but sometimes animal fats are also used.
Vegetable wax candles include a variety of soy-, coconut- and rapeseed wax candles. The increasing mass cultivation of each monoculture is generally associated with the loss of biodiversity – new farmlands are established at the expense of natural biomes. For example, palm oil entails cutting down rainforests and soybean production is challenged by the use of pesticides, as well as the effects of GMOs. In remote plantations respect for human rights of the workers is often a problem and as we know palm oil, coconut and soybeans reach us from afar. In the case of rapeseed grown in Europe – if it’s not a raw produce from an organic farming – we unfortunately have to consider the devastating effects of insecticides. From Estonian candle masters we can also find vegetable candle crumbs, which uses olive oil as a raw produce.
Historically, the most used and nowadays the most valuable candles in Estonia are made of beeswax – both accoring to its essence and price tag.
SO WHAT TYPE OF CANDLE SHOULD YOU PURCHASE?
Evidently, beeswax candles made by a local beekeeper, as well as ecostearin and eco-plant wax candles can be considered a good choice.
Ecolabel – when buying candles from a store, it is worth keeping an eye on the eco-labels and prefer candles with the EU flower or the Nordic swan label.
Packaging – the less packaged, the better! The range of packaging-free tealights is also expanding.
Less is more! When burning candles, it is recommended not to overdo it – instead of many candles burning at once, limit yourself to a few candles. Although air is primarily polluted by paraffin candles, the mass use of alternatives is also unreasonable from an environmental point of view.