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Candles – Design, which wax & buy

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.

Which Candle? candles gimped

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);
    beeswax
  • 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.

Candle Types

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.

BUY

Basic white unscented candles

Parafin Candles

Bolsius Pack of 6 Household CandlesPrices 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.

BULK PACK of 14 - Ivory Church Candles (60mm x 152mm)

I found some pillar candles on Amazon which look to be plastic free – please check

 

BULK PACK of 14 – Ivory Church Candles (60m…

Vegetable Wax

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. Heaven Scent 24 Organic Unscented Tea Lights

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

Paraffin Based

Price Candle PXT011028 Winter Jasmine Scented Tealights, WhitePrices 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
  • Scented Candle In Tin - (Housekeeper) Prices Patent Candles Open Window Jar

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.

Soy Candles

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?

soy wax

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!!

Beeswax

Try these from Etsy, they are made in London and  you should be able to discuss packaging with them.

Buy

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.

Amazon is a very dirty word at the moment and I thought long and hard before suggesting them.  Heres why I went ahead….. No we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This is not why we do it.

 

Bolsius Pack of 6 Household Candles PRICE'S HOUSEHOLD CANDLES 5PK - 5 CANDLES Sentinel Nightlights X6
Bolsius Pack of 6 Household Candles
£3.98
PRICE’S HOUSEHOLD CANDLES 5PK – 5 CANDLES
£2.44
4
Sentinel Nightlights X6
£3.40
BULK PACK of 14 - Ivory Church Candles (60mm x 152mm) Grehom Organic Dinner Candles (Set of 4) - Ivory Heaven Scent 24 Organic Unscented Tea Lights
BULK PACK of 14 – Ivory Church Candles (60m…
£29.99
These look like they might be unwrapped. Please double check before you buy – then tell me!
Grehom Organic Dinner Candles (Set of 4) – …look to be plastic free! Heaven Scent 24 Organic Unscented Tea Lights
£5.81
Candles Naturally Plant Wax Unfragranced Tealights, Pack of 24, Natural Heaven Scent Natural Organic Jumbo Tea Light Candles - 24 (Long Life 7 hours) Prices Pack of 10 Tealights
Candles Naturally Plant Wax Unfragranced Te… Heaven Scent Natural Organic Jumbo Tea Ligh… Prices Pack of 10 Tealights
£5.24
Price Candle PXT011028 Winter Jasmine Scented Tealights, White Prices Patent Candles Open Window Jar Scented Candle In Tin - (Housekeeper)
Price Candle PXT011028 Winter Jasmine Scent…
£3.13
Prices Patent Candles Open Window Jar
£5.49
Scented Candle In Tin – (Housekeeper)
£6.95
Housekeeper Tealights - (FR441016) Prices Housekeeper Scented Candle in Tin Eliminates Household Odours - TRIPLE PACK Prices open window candle - FR510316x1
Housekeeper Tealights – (FR441016)
£4.95
Prices Housekeeper Scented Candle in Tin El…
£10.99
Prices open window candle – FR510316x1
£13.44
Prices Household Scented Candle in Tin - FR210616 Prices Candles FR541016 Open Window Tealights, Pack of 6, Green Prices Candles FR341016 6-Piece Chef's Tealights
Prices Household Scented Candle in Tin – FR…
£15.33
Prices Candles FR541016 Open Window Tealigh…
£2.48
Prices Candles FR341016 6-Piece Chef’s Teal…
£2.83

 

WASIWAX Handcrafted Wedding Carved Candles (Eternity) Magical Floating Candles - 50 Reusable Floats & 50 Long Burning Wicks fuelled by vegetable oil Clever & Unique Magical Floating Water Candles, 50 Reusable Silver Floats & 50 Long Burning Wicks fuelled by vegetable oil. Wedding Table Centrepiece
WASIWAX Handcrafted Wedding Carved Candles …
£34.90
As these are made in Britain you might be able to ask about plastic-free packaging
Magical Floating Candles – 50 Reusable Floa…
£20.50
Clever & Unique Magical Floating Water …
£20.50
2.5 KILO Eco Soya / Eco Soy Container Candle WAX Flakes - Lovely Alternative to Parrafin Wax 5metre Wedo LX8 (50mm) Candle Making Wick + 50 Sustainers 5 Metres Wedo ECO Candle Making Wick. High Quality - ECO 1
2.5 KILO Eco Soya / Eco Soy Container Candl…
£19.99
5metre Wedo LX8 (50mm) Candle Making Wick +…
£3.09
5 Metres Wedo ECO Candle Making Wick. High …
£2.50
ECO 8 Pre-tabbed Candle Wick - pack of 20 20 Pre Waxed Wicks For Candle Making Teacup / Medium Candles (LX18). 100mm Long.Quantity Jute Ribbon Brown 7/8 Inch by 10 Yard Roll Sold By The Yard
ECO 8 Pre-tabbed Candle Wick – pack of 20
£3.99
20 Pre Waxed Wicks For Candle Making Teacup…
£2.60
Jute Ribbon Brown 7/8 Inch by 10 Yard Roll …
£3.59
Prices Candles Tealights Winter Walk 6 Pack Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Garden Lavender Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Tea Rose
Prices Candles Tealights Winter Walk 6 Pack Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Garden Laven…
£3.12
Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Tea Rose
£3.01
Price Candle PXT011005 Pomegranate and Walnut Scented Tealights, Pink Price Candle PXT011012 Fresh Fig Scented Tealights, Purple Price Candle PXT011010 Cinnamon Sticks Scented Tealights, Beige
Price Candle PXT011005 Pomegranate and Waln…
£3.12
Price Candle PXT011012 Fresh Fig Scented Te…
£3.13
Price Candle PXT011010 Cinnamon Sticks Scen…
£3.13
Price Candle PXT011020 Apple Spice Scented Tealights, Red Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Peach Blossom Soft Geranium Scented Tealights 6 Pack
Price Candle PXT011020 Apple Spice Scented …
£2.69
Prices Fragrance Tealights x 6 Peach Blossom
£2.99
Soft Geranium Scented Tealights 6 Pack
£3.13

 

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Condoms & Lubricants

If all goes well on Valentines day you may well be planning some intimate moments. Time to check out condoms.

Condoms come in the following materials….

Latex: made of latex rubber from rubber trees a natural and therefore biodegradable. Which has led to claims that that latex condoms are biodegradable. Which is hotly debated! Latex condoms contain addatives to make them (amongst other things) stronger. Many people say that even if they do eventually decompose, (not proven),  it takes such a long time as to make any claims of biodegradability  misleading. Certainly the anti-balloon camp do not consider latex balloons to be biodegradable despite what the balloon industry say. So, for the time being, lets leave latex on the shelf for further study.

Synthetic materials: polyisoprene, polyurethane and silicone. All of these are non- biodegradable materials.

Lambskin: sheeps intestines – no good for you vegans out there but definitely biodegradable.

Lets find out more

Here is some blurb from the British Condom shop about Trojan NaturaLambs, the make of lambskin condoms they sell

“These condoms are made from a natural membrane and while that may sound strange at first, they are one of the most comfortable, intimate, and largest condoms on the market. Most notable is their ability to transfer heat.

NaturaLamb condoms also have the exclusive Kling-Tite draw string at the base for added safety.

NOTE: These condoms do NOT protect against STDs, only unwanted pregnancy!”

Some more….

I am sure the packaging will contain plastic elements but then so will all the others. This appears to be the best option for condoms you can compost. The next question is would you want to?

Lube

Lambskin condoms can be used with both water-based and oil-based lubricants. However most commercially produced lubricants come in plastic bottles and many contain paragons, a preservative that causes some people concern. If you want something completely natural, go for for coconut oil. If you like this blog you know we love coconut oil – but don’t take our word for it, read this is a great write up about coconut oil in the bedroom.

NB If you find the smell overwhelming you might like to buy an odourless coconut oil. In Yorkshire? – you can buy coconut oil here

If you want to go for a traditional product here’s a good write up on what is available in the world of lubricants.

Buy From Amazon

Trojan Naturalamb Luxury Non Latex Condoms (10 Pack) Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1
Trojan Naturalamb Luxury Non Latex Condoms …
£28.99
Made from sheeps intestines
Biona Org Odourless Coconut Oil 610 ML x 1
£10.00

 

Amazon Products

Being committed to local shopping, I prefer to buy that way whenever possible. I would encourage you to do the same. One of the joys of living plastic free is mooching round the local shops seeing what you can source. But sometimes you can’t buy local so I have put together an Amazon catalogue.

Yes we do get an affiliation fee for this, and no we are not entirely happy with Amazons recent history. However, we have always found their service to be good and their packaging usually compostable.

 

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How to wrap gifts plastic-free

Reusable Wraps

Disposable Paper

As much as we love reusable gift wrap and bags, you have to know someone pretty well before you can snatch back the wrapping once the gift is opened. Gifting  for the first time? Maybe consider a disposable paper wrapping.

  • Shop local – You can still buy gift wrap in single, unpackaged sheets from card and book shops. Pricey but nice and not so green.
  • Plantable paper Try Eden’s Paper a 100% plantable wrapping paper.
  • On a budget – check out brown paper packages and other cheap wraps.
    Read more and find purchase details here

Fixings

Sticky tape

And to be properly compostable you will need to stick your paper with biodegradable sticky tape

Ties 

Of course one way to get the most out of your wrapping paper is to reuse it. In which case you done want it torn off. Walk away from the sticky tape and tie your brown paper packages up with  string.

A bit more effort than sticky tape but there are advantages

  • less chances are the paper will be less damaged when the gift is unwrapped.
  • looks very retro chic
  • tie it with a bow and the ties themselves be reused.

Lets start with string. From traditional brown hairy string to U.K. woollen twine, there are some great options.

Then there are ribbons and fancy ties.

Other gift and celebration related posts can be found here.

Add A Card

Greetings cards Cards  have been the bane of Pam’s life , (I mean greeting cards not gambling  – that’s all in the past) as many come wrapped in icky plastic. So what are the alternatives?

 

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Chocolates and Sweets

I don’t care if the lady loves milk tray, she’s not getting a box of chocks from me. Not with that plastic wrapping, plastic cover sheet, plastic sweet tray and, to be honest, rather nasty chocolate.

Before you call me hard hearted there is a plastic free alternative.

Chocolates

There are shops out there selling British and Belgium chocolates loose.  You can buy a separate, cardboard box to put them in or you could make your own packaging.

Chocolate Bars pfree sweets Tesco chocolate

And there is always chocolate wrapped in foil and cardboard. Tescos do some wrapped in cardboard and foil.

Original Beans who sell  their chocolate in certified compostable packaging.

If handing some one a big slab of chocolate seems a bit blunt, you could tart it up by turning it into something else. Check out the marbled minty things made by Jen.

Sweets

If the loose chocolates are too expensive you can buy other kinds of sweets from jars – for mothers day my  mum got two ounces of liquorice torpedo’s in a paper bag from Queensgate Market. Huddersfield.
Tescos and Ikea have a pick and mix stand where you can get chocolate beans ( smarties), and other sweets unwrapped and loose.

Every time I have been to any of the above, they have had paper bags but you may want to take your own plastic-free bag to be sure.

 

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How To Buy Flowers Plastic Free

You don’t even want to know how many plastic wrapped roses we are going to get through on this one Valentine’s day.Oh you do? According to the Flowers & Plants Association, “sales of all fresh flowers double on Valentine’s day, with over 9 million red roses being given in the UK. Worldwide, billions of roses – mostly red – are traded on this one day alone.”

This is closely followed by Mothers Day which the Flowers & Plants Association goes on to say, is the biggest event in the UK’s cut flower year with a sales increase of up to 40% on a normal day’s trading.

Not to mention weddings…

Lets think about the amount all those flowers  will create. All that plastic wrapping for a start. Now some people may tell you that flowers come cellophane wrapped and that cellophane is a plant based plastic and so biodegradable. Cellophane was indeed a plant based plastic. However as most piano keys are no longer made of ivory, most cellophane is now longer plant derived. The term cellophane has come to describe the petroleum based plastic product that looks and feels just like it. Many flowers come ready wrapped in plastic many florists use it.

And there’s more. Many flowers in the shops  have been imported and come with hundreds of air miles attached. Nearly 80% of the cut flowers we buy in the UK are imported from The Netherlands, Colombia and Kenya.

In his comprehensive book, How Bad are Bananas?, Mike Berners-Lee calculates the amount of greenhouse gases (CO2e) released in the growing and transportation of a single red rose. It works out at

  • 350g CO2e for a rose grown in Kenya and flown by air to the UK
  • 2.1kg CO2e for one grown in a heated greenhouse in The Netherlands

The Kenyan rose is the better environmental option, but the Kenyan flower trade has had a very bad press deservedly so. Pressure brought to bear has forced some changes but it still uses too much water, too many pesticides and pays dreadfully low wages.

There is an argument that the trade helps support Kenyan trade.There is another argument that says the Kenyans should be growing food to feed themselves rather than flowers to ship out in return for a barely living wage to buy expensive food….

There is no doubt that floral decorations are very lovely so here are some ways to lesson the impact….

Local Florists 

Walk away from the garage forecourt, go to a florist, buy unwrapped and insist it is wrapped in  paper. Best take your own paper just to be sure.

Try to stick with seasonal, U.K. grown flowers if possible. Here is a list of seasonal flowers.

All I could get was an Amaryllis that was neither seasonal or locally grown but was at least #plasticfree.

flower

U.K. Grown – collect

Here are a list of fantastic companies offering a greener option on locally grown cut flowers. The downside is you have to go and collect.

By Post
Not used this company but plan to do so. The flowers are lovely – see here.  And so is the delivery! Answer to a request for info… let me know how you get on plastic free lovers.there is no plastic in our packaging. The flowers are wrapped in craft paper and we use Rafia to tie them. Regards, Carolyn

Make some 
Test out your cutting and or  folding skills.

Grow Some