Nothing sets the mood quite as well as candles but it is hard to find plastic free candles. Most come in a protective plastic wrap or bag. However we tracked down a few.
Parrafin, soy or beeswax.
In the olden days candles were made from a by-product of beef-fat rendering(tallow) which stank and smoked or beeswax which didn’t smell or smoke but was very expensive.Then in the 1820s, French chemist Michel Eugene Chevreul discovered how to extract stearic acid from animal fatty acids. This could be used to make a wax that was harder and burnt far more cleanly.
However the most luxurious and brightest of all candles were made from crystallized spermaceti an oil obtained from the sperm whale. Like beeswax, spermaceti wax had a pleasing odour but also produced a far brighter light. Again it was a harder was so didn’t soften when the atmosphere got hot. Lucky for the sperm whale who was being hunted into extinction for his light shedding wax, rock oil and its many by-products burst onto the scene. One such by-product was paraffin which could be used to make super-hard, super-bright and, best of all, cheap candles.
Recently, a huge surge in the popularity of candles has led to new waxes being developed including soy bean wax.
Soy candles are made from a processed form of soybean oil called soy wax. It is very soft so most candles are made in tins or containers. However additives including beeswax, paraffin, or palm wax can be used to make it harder. Additives include: stearic acid, Vybar (a trademarked polymer), mineral oil, petrolatum, paraffin wax, ultraviolet absorbers, and bht crystals.
Most candles today are made from one of the following
- paraffin (a product of petroleum refining);
- stearin (now produced almost exclusively from palm waxes though initially manufactured from animal fats);
- Gel Candles produced from gelled mineral oils or synthetic hydrocarbons. They are made in containers.though some are rigid enough to keep their own shape.
- some plant waxes (generally palm, carnauba, bayberry, or soybean wax);
The size of the flame rate at which the candle burns is determined mostly by the size of the candle wick.
You can find out more about candles here and here.
Taper, Dinner or household candles. The traditional round candles that have to be set in candlesticks or empty wine bottles. Used for dinner parties and power cuts.
Pillar Candles are the modern version. Big and chunky, they are solid and self standing in a variety of sizes.
Floating Candles are designed to float on water.
Tealights are low round candles in a metal container. Much loved by the Ikea crowd. They are used in food warmers or tealight holders
Container or Filled Candles are non-flammable, heat resistant containers which are filled with wax and wick. They come in heat-resistant glass jars, tins and less often, pottery.
Votive Candles are come heat-resistant containers often with religious imagery.
Specialty or Novelty Candles come in a wide array of shapes either molded or sculpted by hand.
Scented candles – can be used to create a pleasant ambience or mask other odours such as cooking or cigarette smoke. They can also be used to keep insects at bay though personally I don’t think they are very effective.
Basic white unscented candles
Prices do a practical range of plain white unscented candles both household & tealight. Last time I looked, so did Bolsius. I have bought both of the above packaged in cardboard from a number of local shops. If you can’t buy them locally you can of course get them on line.
I found some pillar candles on Amazon which look to be plastic free – please check
BULK PACK of 14 – Ivory Church Candles (60m…
If you don’t fancy paraffin candles,these organic, vegetable wax candles look plastic free. they are available from Nigels Ecostore www.nigelsecostore.com and Amazon.
Grehom Organic Dinner Candles (Set of 4) – … from Amazon also look to be plastic free!
NB be aware they contain palm oil but sustainably sourced Scented Candles
Prices do a wide range scented tealights and candles in a tins and glass jars with fragrances to suit all moods and occasions. They also do some odour eaters great for eliminating or rather masking odours which work pretty well. These come as tealights, in tins or glass jars and include
- HOUSEKEEPER~ Contains extracts of Beeswax, Mandarin & Lemon
- CHEF’S CANDLE~ Contains extracts of Basil, Patchouli & Geranium
- OPEN WINDOW~ Contains Lily, Violet & Orange Flower
I have bought all the above packaged in cardboard. Please be aware that tins ike this are almost always epoxy resin lined which is (yes you guessed), a plastic.
They can be bought pretty much everywhere.
You could try Foundry Candles from Oldham Manchester
“The scents of these delightful hand poured soy candles have been captured perfectly in a tin. Aprox 40 hours burning time. All natural ingredients. Check out all the amazing scents!”
Please be aware that tins are almost always epoxy resin lined which is a plastic.
There are plenty more up on Etsy but they are eye wateringly pricey. You might be better off making your own. How hard can it be?
You can get soy flakes in a reusable cotton bag
- Only supplied in the re-usable cotton storage sack if purchased from Amazon or Aura
- Container blend – NO soot or smoke.
- Achieves a longer burn than paraffin Wax.
- Easy to clean up any spills with soap and water.
- Finest quality American SOY WAX flakes.
Aura’s Eco Soy Wax Flakes. A greener way to make quality candles…. These flakes are the finest quality Eco Soy flakes imported from the United States. Superior to paraffin Wax, candles made with Eco Soy will burn longer and be free of soot & smoke……. BASIC DIRECTIONS: Melt like chocolate. Gradually add your chosen fragrance. Add your colour a little at a time. Secure your wick into the desired container. Pour the melted Eco Soy into your container & leave to harden…..Once set – Enjoy your candle!!
Try these from Etsy, they are made in London and you should be able to discuss packaging with them.
One of the real joys of buying #plasticfree is sourcing the stuff in local shops. The excitement when you see milk in glass bottle in the newsagents is beyond words.
However sometime you have to buy on line. If so please see if there are links to sellers direct in the post above.
If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know.
If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This is not why we do it.