burn cleaner, burn brighter

I love candles. Like, LOVE them. I have an assortment for every season and rotate them out with a giddy look on my face.

In fact, I just cleaned the wax out of about 10 finished candles this past weekend so I can save the jars to use again. (And most likely, now that I've learned some tricks from Syrup Row, I'll be making a few of my own candles for my home.) (If you're my fiance...I promise I won't hoard the jars too long in the house!)

Did you know that not all candles are created equal? As Syrup Row demonstrates, there's a greener kind of candle, and a very big factor in a candle's sustainability is what type of wax you burn.

Regular candles that use paraffin wax emit a variety of chemicals when they're burned. Paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct, releases a number of carcinogens, including acetaldehyde, acrolein, benzene, formaldehyde, polyaromatic hydrocarbons, toluene and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. If you've got asthma or lung disease, paraffin candles can have an even worse effect on you. And that black soot given off after burning can affect your health as well.

And it doesn't stop with just the wax! Some wicks have additives like lead and zinc that help them burn well, but can can release harmful gases when they are burned.

Then there's packaging to think about. Some candles are shrink-wrapped in plastic, while some come unwrapped, or in a recycled/recyclable paper container.

So when it time to grab new candles for your home or office, look for the eco-friendly alternatives.

  • Made with soy or vegetable wax or beeswax, which don't have toxins in them and burn cleaner than paraffin
  • Made with cotton or paper wicks and are lead-free
  • If you go for scented candles, choose ones made with essential oils or candle oils
  • Choose candles in cardboard packaging or that are unwrapped

Better wax, better wicks, better packaging.

...Aw crap, I could've written this entire blog post in six words!

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