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Say goodbye to boring old candles and hello to sustainable candle goodness! Sustainable candles are an eco-friendly and healthy alternative to conventional candles.
Instead of using petroleum-based paraffin wax and synthetic fragrances that can release harmful chemicals, sustainable candles are made with natural and renewable materials like soy wax or beeswax and scented with essential oils for a more natural aroma.
Plus, their production process often involves recycled materials and biodegradable or reusable containers, making them the environmentally conscious choice.
Eco Friendly Sustainable Candles I Love
Sustainable candles are better for the planet and make your home smell amazing without any adverse health effects—no more sneezing or wheezing from the harmful chemicals released by conventional candles. Instead, you can breathe easily and enjoy the natural scents from their ingredients.
Before you light up a sustainable candle, read the guide at the bottom of this post to help you when you shop.
A clear labor of love, Siblings offers a wide range of Do-It-Yourself candles with a keen eye for ingredients, packaging, and environmental impact. Most candles on the market are still mass-produced using paraffin, a petroleum byproduct.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to breathe in burning paraffin, and Siblings have the answer. They make sure their candles are phthalate & paraben-free, using clean ingredients like non-toxic oils and a coconut blend wax.
By offering this DIY approach, Siblings also puts production in our hands, making it possible to craft candles right at home rather than in a factory. This also helps with the waste associated with the packaging on several fronts.
We can easily reuse our empty candle containers by making the candles ourselves. Plus, the packaging for their candle pouches is plant-based and compostable.
With a clear commitment to greater sustainability, Siblings is also carbon neutral. They have offset their carbon footprint since their founding year in partnership with Pachama. This organization works to restore forests, protect ecosystems, and leverages data and technology to improve carbon markets.
Get started with their starter set, and don’t forget to add a wick trimmer if you need one. You can also try their bundle and save options, or shop their lovely selection by scent (olfactory) featuring options like citrus, earthy, fruity, spiced, woody, or fragrance-free.
Or shop by moods like energize, focus, relax, rejuvenate, cozy or romantic. That is possible if you want to purchase their candles or vessels. No need to buy more than what you need. A great gift option for the crafty candle lovers in your life.
Planted's 100% natural, sustainable candles are hand-poured, GMO-free, and made with natural waxes like soy and coconut. They are also certified cruelty-free. Burning these vegan candles will not increase the CO2 in your home—I love that! Plus, every time you purchase one of Planted's scented sustainable candles, they plant a tree on your behalf.
These eco-friendly candles are scented using pure essential oils and natural aromatic essences like vanilla and coconut. They are completely phthalate-free and free of any artificial compounds or fragrances. You can choose from Calming Lavender, Energizing Eucalyptus, or Peaceful Jasmine, to name a few.
One of the things I admire about this brand is a program they run called "Project Re-Cycle." They take the production and lifecycle of their packaging and materials into account and offer a take-back program to ensure all of their well-loved packaging can be reused or recycled. You can reuse the glass as a cocktail tumbler or mini flower vase.
Their gorgeous containers can be reused up to 10 times. They also offer a refill program, so if you love a jar and can't live without it, email them, and they will be happy to light that flame again!
Their 9oz candles will burn brightly for at least 50 hours! I've been using and love the Energizing Eucalyptus — a soft scent that fills the room and makes my home feel so happy. I love every detail of this candle. They have beautiful, sustainable skincare if you are looking for that!
Simple Ritual makes some of the best sustainable candles with a fun vintage vibe. They make clean-burning, toxin-free, vegan soy wax candles repurposed with forgotten vintage glass found locally in Ontario, Canada. I mean, does it get any better?
You can buy non-toxic scented candles in vintage jars or tins that can be repurposed when your candle burns out.
Their non-GMO, eco-friendly candles use paraben- and phthalate-free premium fragrances and pure essential oils. The owner Kayla is a cancer survivor and takes this stuff seriously.
Premium fragrance oils are produced using only the purest essential oils derived solely from natural, raw botanical sources. The wick is also made from cotton, so there is no lead here.
The soy wax is as pure as its gets and is sourced from the USA from a company that offers sustainable processes and supply chain procedures. Plant-based waxes are a completely natural renewable resource and the preferred choice in the journey toward sustainability.
The team at Simple Ritual is passionate about making products that prioritize sustainability by re-purposing old materials, and they are also really serious about giving back. A percentage of every candle sold goes to Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC), an organization that supports young adults living with, through, and beyond cancer.
These beautifully scented candles are anything but simple. Each candle selection is made in small batches and can be refilled.
The vintage candle I have came in a little red wine glass that will be my wine glass of choice once the candle is done. It's a little treasure, and I love it so much I almost don't want to light it!
Vellabox is the definition of cozy with their artisan candles delivered to your door monthly. You know I love a good subscription box, and this one is next level. They carry a wide selection of artisan candles that I am sure you will love.
All the candles featured on their website are made with 100% natural wax and scented with essential oils. You can choose from soy candles or eco-friendly wax candles like coconut. All the wicks are cotton braided.
I got to try a few of the artisan brands. Nightshift Wax Co.'s vegan soy candle is divine and made with 100% vegan soy. If I could drink the Earl Grey candle, I would! It's infused with bergamot and dried lily is vegan and cruelty-free, and comes in a gorgeous amber jar that you can easily reuse when you finish it.
The Nordic Cabin non-toxic candles are hand poured for Vellabox and come in two sizes: 8oz and 4oz. Each is beautifully scented and comes in a clear jar to keep and upcycle. If roasted chestnuts and cedarwood are your vibes, you will LOVE this brand. They make me want to be in a cabin right now!
Then there is the Often Wander candle, pictured above, which comes in a gorgeous glass vessel that will be a treasure in my home for a long time. Often Wander candles are made with 100% natural soy wax, quality essential and fragrance oils, and a cotton wick.
Clean and slow-burning, these 6-ounce smooth and creamy soy candles have a 40-hour burn time. They're hand-poured in San Francisco and San Diego, CA.
To order this sustainable candle subscription box, pick the perfect box, choose three candles, get candles to your door monthly, and set the mood. The costs start as low as $10 US/month. What an amazing gift idea!
5. Sam + Lance
SAM + LANCE is another favorite when it comes to ethical subscription boxes. Not only do they sell a box filled with goodies, but you can also find divine candles on their website. All the brands are made with either soy or coconut wax and scented with the most beautiful essential oils.
Whether you like warm and cozy or sweet and savory, they've got a scent for you. One of the brands they carry is Fenwick (pictured above), which carries sustainable coconut wax candles. The coconut wax is purchased from farmers that have healthy agricultural practices.
Each candle is scented using 100% essential oils extracted through steam distillation of fresh flowering tops and young twigs The wicks are made from 100% cotton. These candles contain zero chemicals, phthalates, or any other nasty stuff.
When you buy one of these candles, you are not only supporting a local business but are ensuring the farmers involved are being paid a fair wage.
SAM + LANCE is all about reducing waste, so these candles come in a cute glass container that you can reuse repeatedly!
Goodee is a black-owned business that is made up of a community of socially conscious design enthusiasts. Their ethically curated marketplace offers everything from houseware to better lifestyle products for you and the planet. And, of course, that includes candles.
The delectable candles from KOBO come in scents like thyme and calendula. Each unique, sustainable candle is made in the USA with 100% GMO-free soy wax. They use enviro-safe cotton wicks to provide a pure and clean flame that will not pollute your home.
Every candle is free of additives, dyes, phthalates, and oil-based petroleum products. Every candle is hand-poured in their family-run facility near Saratoga Springs, New York.
When you buy one of these candles from GOODEE, a portion of the sales are donated to disenfranchised groups that are specific to the brand's cultural and social community.
To reduce waste, GOODEE uses ingredients from upcycled materials, including scrap and "repurposed materials from discarded goods."
GOODEE is all about poverty reduction by ensuring a fair living wage for all supply chain workers. They also care about gender advocacy by supporting female leadership and promoting a circular economy to minimize waste.
If you are looking for truly unique, sustainable candles, look no further than The Wax Studio. The maker, Robin, has been making candles since she was a kid and is talented in her creations. She makes some eco-friendly candles using molds that she has developed herself, and you will not find these anywhere else.
In addition to the ones pictured above, she also makes ones molded from antique bottles, the tall pillar cast from an actual candle from the 1800s, and a jar candle she designs with a succulent plant.
Every candle is made with pure local beeswax she filters herself with 100% cotton wicks and eco-friendly dyes. Robin's beeswax candles have an amazing natural honey aroma and purify the air.
Part of every candle sale is donated to local organizations and initiatives, including the Ontario Beekeepers' Association, Black Women in Motion, the Parkdale Food Centre, and others.
Lohn makes soy blend wax candles that are so elegant and beautiful. Engage your senses with their collection of scents that include Grapefruit & Rhubarb, Cardamom & Coconut, or Amber & Vetiver.
Lohn came onto the scene in Toronto back in 2018. They hand-pour all of their candles in-house in Toronto. These candles are infused with clean scents, made with coconut and soy wax, and come in recyclable packaging. The wick is cotton, and every candle is vegan, cruelty-free, and non-toxic.
"LOHN scents are inspired by journeys that transport you to another time and place. In the ancient world, trade routes partly developed around the pursuit of perfume ingredients and materials like amber, tea, and spices."
The Forage collection is made with 100% essential oils. Each candle is paraben-free, phthalate-free, and preservative-free. They do use some synthetic fragrances, but all the raw ingredients are sourced locally and sustainably.
Their Totem candles are handmade in Japan by a family in Ishikawa, who has been handcrafting these traditional Japanese candles, also known as 'wa-rousoku', in the same way since 1892.
These vegan and sustainable candles are made from wax that is harvested from the fruit of the Japanese Haze tree, and their unique hollow wicks allow them to produce a bright, tall flame. I mean just look at them—candle art, am I right?
Obakki is one of the most sustainable Canadian brands that works closely with artisans worldwide. All the items are handmade by talented artisans using local materials while protecting traditional methods.
Long-term relationships are what make Obakki so successful. Sustainable local livelihood is of the utmost importance. They co-create products that respect and preserve tradition. They follow the supply chain and ensure fair and prompt payment for all their artisans.
The founder Trina also founded a non-profit called The Obakki Foundation. They sum it up perfectly on the website:
"We support potential and transformed lives measure our results. By identifying gaps and strategically investing in sustainable solutions, we can facilitate real and lasting change. We're proud of our 100% model - when you donate to the Obakki Foundation, 100% of your contribution goes directly to our programs."
10. P.F. Candle Co.
In 2008, the humble origins of P.F. Candle Co took root when a husband and wife team, Thomas Neuberger and Kristen Pumphrey, founded the company. They were driven by the desire to provide people with high-quality candles that have a luxurious scent, yet remain affordable.
P.F. Candle Co opts for domestically sourced 100% soy wax and phthalate-free ingredients, they also take pride in producing high-quality and dependable products. They meticulously develop, produce, test, and package each item by hand in their Los Angeles, California warehouse to meet the strictest standards of quality.
In their efforts to create sustainable products, their jars are recyclable and can be repurposed. The company encourages customers to reuse the candle jars creatively by using them as storage containers, and vases, and even creating diffusers with lava rocks and essential oils.
Their vision is to make fragrance an everyday indulgence, while also being socially responsible. Kristen's DIY mindset was honed when she lost her job during the recession and moved to Austin, Texas.
She started her Etsy store there and met Thomas, and together they turned their passion for creating exceptional candles into a successful startup!
Why consider switching to non-toxic and sustainable candles?
Candles are big business; it's estimated that the industry is worth about 3.5 billion dollars. Candles are not a necessity but rather a decoration. The problem is that most of the candles in your home are made from paraffin wax (or, as it sometimes appears on a label, mineral wax), which comes from petroleum.
The demand for these types of products is in part what's driving global warming. #fossilfuels
When you burn paraffin wax, you emit carbon into your home's air. Sucking in carbon is not a good idea! It's best to avoid paraffin candles.
Carbon is only one issue; the fragrance is the other. We don't fully understand the safety or potential toxicity of gases released from the group of ingredients known as "fragrance," but we do know they can contribute to decreased indoor air quality and leave VOCs (volatile organic compounds) in the air.
We also know that when "fragrance" is present, phthalates, which are known endocrine disruptors, are most likely present as well. Fragrance has been linked to headaches and it's why you see so many businesses asking people not to wear perfume at all.
Unscented paraffin wax candles aren't much better. When we burn these types of candles, we expose ourselves to formaldehyde (which is carcinogenic), benzene, and toluene (a neurotoxin).
Not only that, but many candles also have lead in their wicks, which further adds to indoor air pollution.
Palm Wax can also be used to make candles and is not much better than paraffin. In Indonesia and Malaysia, local governments have allowed palm producers to ravage local forests to keep up with the demand for palm oil on this side of the world.
"Between 1967 and 2000, the area under cultivation in Indonesia expanded from less than 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles) to more than 30,000 square kilometers."
Deforestation and illegal logging in Indonesia for palm oil are so rapid that a report in 2007 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said most of the country's forests might be destroyed by 2022. Most of the land has been clear-cut to grow palm oil from which palm wax is derived.
Not only is this land home to the most diverse rainforests in the world, but it's also home to the Orangutan, which is now on the brink of extinction thanks to the growing need for palm oil here in North America.
In 2006, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) partnered with oil producers in the region to form the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), an organization committed to finding a way to produce palm in “a sustainable manner based on economic, social, and environmental viability.”
But in an article from The Economist published in June 2010, they found “an industry filled with many companies whose production methods infringed on RSPO standards and Indonesian law. They discovered that while the RSPO is a respectable organization, it has virtually no control over the behavior of its members. Its lack of success in certifying sustainable oil has critics joking that RSPO stands for “Really Slow Progress Overall”.
What’s worse is that the article reveals that even ‘certified’ members of the organization (just 15 of 355 total members) only have to prove that a percentage of their supply is sustainable. So, even if you are buying from a certified grower, there is a good chance you’re getting tainted oil. So best to avoid it altogether!
Shopping for Eco-Friendly, Sustainable Candles is tricky: Here's what to look for:
So now you know what to avoid, but what makes a good candle? Like with everything, when it comes to eco-living you want to choose the most natural path. For eco-friendly sustainable candles, that's coconut wax, beeswax, soy, and flameless options.
Beeswax candles are obviously made from beeswax. If you are buying a candle made from it, the most important question you need to ask is where the beeswax is being sourced. Is it ethical, and is it local? The more locally sourced, the better.
Honey bees are facing major declines thanks to climate change and pesticides, so supporting local beekeepers can help ensure their livelihood.
Commercial honey hives can be shipped all over the country, which harms the bees' health. These bees also have very poor diets because we replace their honey with cheap sugar water, making them sick and more susceptible to parasites.
This is where brand transparency comes into play. You want to ask them where and how they get their wax. And you want to ensure it's 100% beeswax; if the label says 50% beeswax, you can be sure there are added synthetics present, so avoid it!
It takes about 10 pounds of honey to make one pound of beeswax, and with the current state of bees dying, it’s something to keep in mind. On the other side of the coin, though, they generate minimal carbon emissions.
It's important to be cautious of deceptive marketing tactics when it comes to beeswax candles. Many products labeled as "beeswax candles" only contain 51% beeswax, which leaves room for the addition of potentially harmful ingredients such as petroleum or artificial dyes.
So, be sure to carefully read the label before making a purchase to ensure you're getting a high-quality, all-natural product.
If you are vegan, soy is the better option (and it's much better than paraffin). But it's not perfect. 94% of soy grown in the USA is genetically modified and is sprayed heavily with pesticides. It also takes a lot of chemicals to process it, and has been linked to South America's deforestation.
It can also be very challenging to trace soy. If you have a choice between soy and paraffin, go for soy. To make it even better, chose organic and non-GMO soy wax whenever you can. Eco-friendly candles made from soy will also burn longer.
Soy does burn better because it doesn’t emit benzene or other petroleum-based chemicals, but the bigger issue is the impact that growing GMO soy has on the planet.
Another essential aspect regarding 100% organic soy candles is that they do not exist. While the soybean may have been organic at the start, the process of converting it into wax involves the use of hexane. As a result, soy wax cannot be certified as organic.
The oil or wax is subjected to several processes, including bleaching with chlorine and deodorization with boric acid before being hydrogenated to transform it into a solid form. Typically, this involves using a catalyst, such as nickel, palladium, or platinum.
Flameless candles are safer because they can’t burn the house down, but they're not the greenest option either! They are typically made from plastic, silicone resin, or for more authentic aesthetics, paraffin wax.
They’re also powered by batteries, which have a nasty impact on the environment at the end of their lives. Some 94 percent of dead batteries end up in landfills, where they can cause damage to soil micro-organisms and affect the breakdown of organic matter.
Coconut wax is not as mainstem as all the others noted. Like beeswax, coconut wax burns longer and does not emit any harmful chemicals into the air.
In candle making, coconut wax is often blended with other waxes, like soy. Many sustainable candles are made of soy-coconut blends, which are much better than their paraffin counterparts.
Remember that it's very challenging to find a 100% organic candle that checks all the boxes for sustainability... but some choices are much better than others!
It's advisable to opt for brands that explicitly disclose their blend composition. Choosing brands that use organic coconut wax or coconut wax sourced sustainably is even better.
What's the deal with lead in wicks?
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) enforced a ban on producing and selling lead-cored wicks and candles with lead-cored wicks in 2003. This is excellent news since, in the past, many candle manufacturers used cotton wicks with lead cores to keep the wick straight. However, lead is hazardous, especially for babies and young children.
Despite the ban, there is still a possibility of finding candles containing lead that comes from overseas. So it's vital to carefully inspect the label and purchase from brands that ensure the safety of their products, including wick sourcing. By doing so, you can safeguard your family's and the environment's health.
It's recommended to seek out candle manufacturers that employ natural wicks made of cotton, wood, or hemp free of lead cores.
A final word on eco friendly candles
The big question is: are candles environmentally sustainable? For conventional ones, the answer is NO!
But the good news is many brands offer some of the best eco-friendly candles that are both good for us and the planet. Do you use candles at home? Did I leave anyone out? Drop a note below.
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