Friday, January 15, 2010

Small Things = Big Difference or how NOT to burn out

This is the first of a new weekly column this winter with tiny tips to save the planet by buying eco friendly items and maximizing the value of those items by making them last longer.

Dark Suckers; most commonly known as CANDLES

1. What to Buy


BEESWAX: Candles made with beeswax are naturally fragrant, nontoxic, soot-free, and non-allergenic. They’re completely renewable and require little, if any, additives. They burn longer than regular petroleum based paraffin candles.

SOY: Candles with soybean-based wax are generally vegan, soot-free, and biodegradable, and like beeswax, they’re renewable. They also burn up to 50 percent longer than paraffin candles.

PALM OIL: This wax comes from coconuts (the fruit of palm trees) so no plants die during harvesting. Palm oil candles are clean burning and long lasting. When buying soy or palm oil candles look for GMO free- certified organic ingredients are GMO-free and therefore healthier for the world's seed supplies.

2. How to Make 'Em Last

LIGHTS OUT- Although it seems counter-intuitive, the fact is that burning a pillar or jar candle for at least an hour per inch of candle diameter every time you light up will give the candle many more burning hours. This way the flame has enough time to melt the wax all the way to the outer edges so the candle burns down evenly.

VOTIVES- Burn votives in holders and they will last up to twice as long.

WINDS- Moving air makes the candle burn down unevenly and can waste alot of wax- of course it does look more dramatic casting dancing shadows on the walls

PINCUSHION- Tapered candle or votive remnants make great pincushions just chop off the wick- pins with a bit of wax on them slip through fabric easily, too.

WAX DRIPS- I kind of like wax drips- but when they get to be too much on your candle holders - pop the holder into the freezer for 1/2 an hour and the wax will shrink and pop off

MELT 'EM DOWN - It is easy to melt down your leftover candles into one large candle- melt them in a food can (not aluminum) set in 2 inches of boiling water and melt over low heat- scoop out the wicks with a stick and then pour the wax back into a candle jar, etc and add a new craft-store wick - easy, peasy

3. Final Tips

Be sure to choose 100 percent paraffin-free options (some natural candle manufacturers add a little paraffin to the mix). Paraffin wax is made from petroleum and produces carcinogens and soot when burned. Soot from a paraffin candle contains many of the same toxins produced by burning diesel fuel and even many of the so-called healthy, aromatherapy candles sold today can do more harm than good.

Opt out of lead-based wicks (very common in regular candles). Seek out animal-free products: sometimes candles (yes, even natural ones) are made with stearic acid — an animal-derived fat from meatpacking plants. Synthetic fragrances have been identified as VOC-emitters so choose candles scented with botanical oils and natural fragrances.

"Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." - Buddha

(yes I know, I am quoting Buddha now, but you know how Olive and I like to dispense great truths with this little blog)

1 comment:

donauluft said...

Thanks for sharing your tips! I am curious about the next.
I also try to keep my ecological footprint as small as possible and I guess there are countless options ........