We have made some significant easy eco swaps in our home in the last couple of years, mainly in our kitchen. This has cut my plastic waste and my bills quite noticeably actually – and I can still feel like Mrs Hinch when I clean my house with half of the plastic in the cleaning cupboard!
What’s more being a member of the SaveMoneyCutCarbon Home Club means that all my essentials land on my doorstep in one fell swoop – no more does the spirit of B&M whisper in my ear what I should putting in my basket on a weekly basis. It does mean however that when they have my favourite Airwick or Glade candles are on offer, I am not stockpiling.
Candles aren’t all that bad, are they?
Candles are not an obvious place to look for easy sustainable swaps. After all they usually come in recyclable glass holders with cardboard packaging – so surely its not all bad?!
Well yes, and no – truth be told there is not a perfect solution to being more eco-friendly when it comes to home fragrance. Sorry about that, but we did promise we would always be honest with you…
If you’re anything like me, you like nothing better than an Airwick cotton & linen scented candle at this time of year. As its Airwick you naturally assume that as the experts in home fragrance you are going to be getting a beautiful smelling home for hours – and you wouldn’t be wrong.
Most of the candles you will pick up and pop in your basket will be made from paraffin wax and have been for years. Paraffin wax is made from something called Slack wax which is a by-product from crude oil refining – or as we know it, petroleum, which is refined into the petrol for your car.
We all know how harmful to the environment crude oil refining is so I won’t labour the point, but did you know that your perfume, home hair colour, toothpaste and shampoo can all contain by-products from crude oil refining? In fact over 6000 different products, we use day-to-day actually start their lives as crude oil.
So are paraffin wax candles bad for my home too?
So, what does that mean when paraffin wax candles burn… surely I am not turning my living room into something reminiscent of a petrol station!?
Don’t panic. Whilst your paraffin candles will release VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) which are made from carbon, soot, and chemicals there is no current scientific evidence to suggest that burning a candle now and then is going to cause you any harm – but obviously it does add to the amount of carbon in atmosphere, even if it’s only small.
Is there a better option then?
Well, there is no perfect option let’s be clear on that, but there is a better option which doesn’t require crude oil – the vegans amongst us will know all about it and that’s the soybean.
Soy candles just like our Cosy Candles are really the new kids on the block – there are a number of small independent manufacturers popping up everywhere online. Hurrah there is a miracle solution to our candle conundrum then!
Well it is true to say that soy wax comes with benefits:
- Burning it releases less VOC’s, soot, and chemicals.
- Soy production is a more natural process.
- Soy production is renewable.
- Soy wax burns slower, so your candles last longer.
- Burning at a lower temperature also gives you a better fragrance.
As with a lot of alternative materials, there are things to think about – and there is no perfect solution. It’s easy to find reports on the internet damming soy cultivation because of deforestation in the Amazon.
As a consumer-led society soy farming has become more intensive, as it is a cheap, protein-rich feed for livestock around the world. In fact 80% of the soy grown in the Amazon goes towards animal feeds. As our demand increases more fertilisers are needed to keep up which is also causing water contamination in the Xingu River.
But think about that for a minute – soy farming has become so intensive in part because of our demand for meat. In theory, we could cut back on 80% of that production and have fossil fuel free candles and veggie burgers all round – “Februvegan” any one…? Okay, I’ll admit it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it!
Soy candles do get the win
So, there you have it the truth about your candles, I can’t wave my eco wand and give you a perfect feel-good solution. Also, I’m not expecting you to start trying to create mood lighting with a torch either.
However, consider this: you could join the SaveMoneyCutCarbon Home Club (this is not a sales pitch I promise) where you could, along with your everyday essentials, order a Cosy Candle as I do, delivered to your door with our regular reliable deliveries.
This way, you’re not adding to your carbon emissions travelling in your car to the supermarket, our Cosy Candles are sourced locally (within 23 miles of our warehouse actually!) and all come in recyclable tins. So you are supporting a small local business, limiting emissions, and reducing plastic packaging waste.
Better yet, with the Club Price Promise, your candle is same price as your Airwick or Glade favourite – so really it just makes sense.