Soy wax candles have been receiving a lot of really positive, and well deserved, attention over the past few years. When directly compared to paraffin wax and beeswax candles, they are both better for the environment and better for your health. There are many reasons that add up and make soy candles such an eco friendly product.
A soy wax candle, of course, comes from the soybean. Soybeans can be easily and organically grown and harvested, and as such are also a renewable product source. However, most candles have much different origins, and this plays heavily into their being unhealthy and bad for the environment at the same time.
The most common candles that you’ll find and the majority of the ones that you’ve likely burned all of your life are paraffin wax candles. Paraffin wax is also a byproduct or derivative product of oil refining. In a sense, you are contributing to increased oil consumption, pollution, eco disasters like the BP Gulf oil spill, and energy dependence when you sit back for a quiet night reading a book in relaxing (paraffin wax) candlelight!
Another common form of candle is the beeswax candle. These aren’t necessarily inherently bad, however right now they are becoming a hot button topic because of the rapid decline and suffering of bee populations and colonies across the country due to Colony Collapse Disorder. Therefore, these are best avoided, particularly in the near future. Other exotic candles are made from products such as tallow, which is a slaughterhouse byproduct, and cetyl palmitate, an oil derived from the bodies of whales and dolphins. So from the perspective of where the wax comes from, soy wax candles are clearly superior.
Scented soy candles can be eco friendly too. Just be sure that the right fragrances are used. Of course you want to avoid synthetic fragrances and instead look for scents based from essential oils and other natural oils and products.
What about health concerns? Well, hopefully you can do the math that paraffin wax candles produced from oil refining byproducts are not going to be healthy for you. They release a significant amount of soot and are a leading source of indoor air pollution. Over the long haul, some people believe they can have substantial negative health effects.
You can lower soot and pollution concerns by switching to a soy wax candle. Minimizing the use of candles with extra dyes, additives and synthetic fragrances will also lower the amount of any soot, as will keeping the wick nice and trimmed. Whatever soot is produced by a soy candle will be based on the burning of a natural product rather than a refined hydrocarbon. You can’t completely eliminate soot from a product based around burning, including soy candles, but you can come pretty close and you can manage the health concerns better with a more natural product.
As you can see, there are many different reasons for why soy wax candles are an eco friendly and healthier product. They minimize harm to the environment and your health, at the same time you get the same enjoyment from them as you would from traditional wax candles.