Sustainable candles and sustainable candle wax
Many people can no longer imagine everyday life without them - candles not only bring cosiness into your own four walls, but must not be missing for many people at the traditional Christmas and birthday celebrations. They are also a popular piece of furniture that can be used to decorate rooms individually. But the purchase of burning products is not entirely unencumbered. More and more consumers are concerned about the origin of the products they buy. They wonder which ingredients are used in their products and under what conditions they were manufactured. Candle products are repeatedly criticized for not being produced sustainably and possibly even burning off substances that are harmful to health. But what exactly is inside the little lights? Which substances are healthy and which are harmful? And how do you recognize high-quality, sustainable candles? In this article we will show you what you can look out for when buying candles in order to do something good for you and our environment!
Comfort without a guilty conscience: why buying sustainable candles counts
Candle consumption in the EU has been growing rapidly for many years. Apart from a small slump due to the very hot summer in 2018, the annual consumption increased from almost 600,000 tons in 2012 to almost 800,000 tons in 2017.  The frontrunners in consumption are traditionally Nordic countries, where the winters are longer dark. In order to make their home particularly cozy and "hyggelig", the Danes have a proud per capita candle consumption of 4.3 kg per year and are thus at the top in Europe. In Germany, consumption is between 3.1 and 4.0 kg per capita per year. . No wonder the cozy lights business is as competitive as it is profitable. In order to make a profit, many manufacturers therefore often rely on cheap raw materials, which, however, are not always harmless to health. Likewise, they often have a poor carbon footprint. With the high amounts consumed, every conscious purchase decision counts and can make a big difference for people and nature. If you also want to buy candles sustainably and without harmful substances, we will explain to you here what is important when choosing a product.
A little knowledge of candles: It depends on the origin
First of all, three candle raw materials can be distinguished: paraffin, stearin and beeswax.
Paraffin is a by-product or waste product that is produced during the extraction of petroleum, sometimes it is also obtained from brown coal. Since it is liquid, waxy, flammable, odorless and tasteless and non-toxic, it was used early on in the manufacture of paraffin candles. It is also used in cosmetics, medical products such as ointments and even food, for example as a coating for cheese rinds.  Paraffin begins to melt at temperatures above 40° C, so that paraffin candles can easily deform due to the warmth of the hands and intense sunlight. Paraffin candles are mainly manufactured using the inexpensive industrial powder pressing process, in which paraffin granules are pressed around a candle wick. Paraffin candles produced in this way are rather light and have a lower density, which means that they have a shorter burning time. Since crude oil is not a renewable raw material, paraffin candles are not considered sustainable and also have a very poor energy balance due to the mostly long transport routes of their raw materials.Around three quarters of all candle products in Europe are currently made from paraffin 
If you are looking for candles without paraffin, you often choose stearin candles. Stearin is a raw material for candles that can be very sustainable - but consumers have to pay close attention to what exactly they are buying. Stearin was discovered as a raw material for candles as early as 1818. This is a mixture of stearic and palmitic acid, which can be obtained from both animal and vegetable fats.  The exact origin thus determines whether a stearin candle is really sustainable and has a good energy balance or not. Stearin has a higher density than paraffin and is therefore harder. The melting point is correspondingly higher, depending on the composition between 55° C and 70° C, so that stearin candles are very dimensionally stable in contrast to paraffin candles. However, it is permissible to add up to 10 percent paraffin to stearin candles without this having to be declared. Manufacturers do this, on the one hand, to reduce production costs, and on the other hand, to make the stearin candle more elastic. Stearin candles are usually made using a more complex casting process, in which the candle wax is first melted and then poured into a mold with a wick. This increases the quality of the stearin candle and also extends the burning time.
Consumers who value sustainable candles without paraffin and palm oil sometimes turn to beeswax products, which are particularly appreciated for their natural and pleasant smell. Beeswax is made from the combs of honey bees and can therefore be described as sustainable and organic if it comes from a local organic beekeeper. However, since animals are used for the production, beeswax is not vegan. Bees also tend to produce small amounts of beeswax, which makes the raw material relatively expensive, which is also reflected in the candle price.  Beeswax candles are mostly handmade. They can either be cast or made using the classic candle-making process, in which a wick is repeatedly dipped in liquid wax, creating the beeswax candle layer by layer. Beeswax candles made in this way have a particularly long burn time.
I would like to buy sustainable candles: what do I have to pay attention to?
Anyone who wants to buy sustainable candles intuitively reaches for beeswax or stearin candles with the knowledge of the raw materials used. But these are not always really sustainable, because even plant-based ingredients are not always obtained with a positive energy balance. Some stearin candles are made from soy wax, which has a long burning time and burns with very little odor and soot. However, since soy is often produced in the USA, Brazil or Argentina, the product has a poor energy balance simply because of the transport routes. Species-rich vegetation often has to give way to monoculture. As a result, rainforests and savannahs are becoming endangered while biodiversity on our planet is threatened. The same arguments apply to the production of stearin from palm oil, so that this too is often avoided by environmentally conscious consumers.
Candles without paraffin and palm oil, which are made from rapeseed wax, for example, are a real alternative. This can be grown locally, is a rapidly renewable raw material and is also vegan. Stearic candles can also be made from biomass. These are fats and oils from leftovers from the food industry, which can therefore be fully recycled.If animal raw materials are used, these are mostly slaughterhouse waste that can be obtained regionally and also contribute to the complete utilization of raw materials and not to wasting them. However, like beeswax candles, stearin candles produced in this way are not vegan.
If you want to buy sustainable candles, you must first check which raw materials the candle product is made of. While a certain proportion of paraffin does not have to be declared, the purity of organic candles is a quality feature that justifies the higher prices. Providers of high-quality products will therefore regularly name the ingredients and their origin. If your product is made from renewable materials that have not been damaged by vegetation, then sustainable candle wax has been used and you are doing something good for the environment with your purchase!
Are candles harmful to the environment and health? Are there healthy candles?
Candle products burn by causing the wax to liquify in the flame and then rising within the wick, where it is exposed to such high temperatures that it vaporizes.  During this chemical reaction, all the components that were previously in the candle wax pass into the room air and thus also the air we breathe. Cheap paraffin candles often have a higher sulfur content, which releases sulfur dioxide when burned. Scented candles and decorative candles can also be affected if paints, varnishes and fragrances were added during their production, which are released during combustion.  Already 70 percent of the candle products offered in Germany carry an RAL seal of approval, which informs consumers whether the legally prescribed pollutant limits have been complied with and whether the product burns with little soot, smoke or drips. Although this can be a first indication of the quality of the combustion product, it does not provide any certainty, because just because pollutant limits have not been exceeded does not mean that no pollutants have been released. Scientific studies have even proven lead in candle residues , which is sometimes used to stabilize the wick and extend the burning time. Although this has not been used in Germany since the 1980s, it can certainly occur in imported products. 
The healthiest burning lights therefore consist of ingredients that have been obtained as naturally and sustainably as possible, ideally in organic quality. Did you know already? Your own behavior can also contribute to the healthy burning of your organic candles. If you always shorten the wick, don't burn your organic candles in a draught, and press the wick into the liquid wax to extinguish after burning, you've done everything you can to avoid burning soot particles. If you also do without aluminum bowls for tea lights and rely on alternatives made of glass or rapeseed wax, things could not be better for the environment. By the way: the decision for high-quality stearin candles pays off twice: Both the ingredients and the manufacturing process contribute to the fact that stearine candles have a particularly long burn time, so that the higher price is not important in view of the overall burn time.
How can I make my own sustainable candles?
If you want to make your own organic candles yourself, then using sustainable candle wax and a few tips and tricks is the way to go simply possible. First you need a sustainable raw material, for example stearin wax, which was obtained from harmless and renewable raw materials.You can also make organic candles yourself by making an oil candle, for example from sunflower, olive or safflower oil.
While with the oil candle, the oil is simply filled into a glass container and provided with a floating wick including a cork float , making handmade stearin candles is a bit trickier. Since stearin is very hard, shrink wax must be added when using it. Without this, you would be able to heat the stearin and pour it into a candle mold, but you would never get it out of the mold. A proportion of 2-5 percent is ideal. While at a lower percentage the crystalline structure of the stearin candle comes into play, at a higher percentage the structure becomes smooth and even like a paraffin candle. If you want to use your organic candle immediately, a normal flat wick is sufficient. However, if you want to use them as decoration and leave them for a while, you should use a special stearin wick. Why? The stearin wax would damage a less robust wick over time, rendering your organic candle inoperable.
By the way: By looking at a candle product from below, you can also check its high quality. It is heavy in the hand and has a smooth, delicate structure, but it is made from high-quality materials using a high-quality process. On the other hand, cheap and inferior quality candle products are light and have a coarse-grained structure, which is caused by the inclusion of air bubbles during production.
Why organic candles from Wisefood are a good alternative
As a pioneer in the production of sustainable disposable tableware, Wisefood has also specialized in selling organic candles made from sustainable candle wax . Our organic candles are produced by a local German supplier who only uses natural and renewable raw materials from European sources. They are produced without environmentally harmful plastic packaging and are free of palm oil and genetically modified soy wax. They consist of two-thirds sustainable stearin and one-third rapeseed wax. In our online shop you can find white pillar candles with a diameter of 6 cm and a height of 9 cm or 13 cm and white table candles with a length of 20 cm, which are perfect for decoration and for cozy evenings with the family. We also offer tea lights in sets of 40, which are made from 100% rapeseed wax and are vegan.
Did you know? When buying candles, you should always consider the intended use. Pillar candles are particularly suitable for longer burning times, as the stearin wax only heats up slowly. If the burning time is too short, the stearin candle would burn out hollow and you wouldn't be able to enjoy it for very long. If you are looking for a sustainable and healthy candle with a shorter burning time, our table candles with a total burning time of 7 hours are ideal. These can also be lit during dinner and then extinguished again without any loss of quality.
Our Pure Candle range is not only characterized by a particularly long burn time and the quiet, low-soot and CO2-neutral burn. They have also been equipped with the patented and certified SafeCandle system to ensure safe burning.
 Candle products: consumption in EU by 2018 | Statista
 • Infographic: The Danes are European champions in candle consumption | Statista
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 Eco-friendly candle products: stearin? Wax? Paraffin? Are there ecologically perfect candles? | Environment Commissioner | Expert Tips | Bavaria 1 | radio | BRde
 Stearin - Wikipedia
 Beeswax: Everything you need to know about candle and cosmetic raw materials - Utopia.de
[ 7] Candle flame • Chemistry • Department of Biology, Chemistry, Pharmacy (fu-berlin.de)
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 How sustainable can candles be? - quarks.de