Ok, so not all non-soy candles are made with shitty waxes. There are a ton of waxes that can be used in candlemaking but this article is going to focus on the most popular: soy and paraffin (aka the shittiest of waxes).
Why do you say paraffin wax is shitty?
So maybe paraffin wax isn’t technically a shitty wax. It just really doesn’t even come close to the queen of waxes: soy.
That said, there are a handful of reasons to avoid paraffin wax in your candles and lots of consumers are starting to avoid paraffin candles because of them. But what it really boils down to is the origin of paraffin wax. Paraffin is a byproduct of the refinement of crude oil into usable fuel.
Crude oil is the most notorious non-renewable product on which basically the entire world still relies heavily. The speculation, mining, and production process has sparked wars and exacerbated global poverty. It’s spawned the world’s most powerful cartel (looking at you, OPEC). And, you know, it’s killing our planet.
Massive environmental concerns aside, many people are concerned with the health effects of burning paraffin in your home. Science has shown that known carcinogens (benzene and toluene) are created when paraffin candles are burned. HOWEVER, in fairness, the amount of these chemicals that are released when these candles are burned is so minimal that it probably doesn’t really have an impact on human health.
But there have to be other wax options, right?
Yes! There are actually lots of other wax options that fall all across the “how shitty is this wax” scale. (My scale being 1 is the least shitty wax and 10 being the wax that will bring humanity to an end.)
Beeswax - 2 out of 10
Beeswax is great. It looks cool, smells good on its own, has very few to zero environmental concerns, and burns for-fucking-ever. It is also expensive as fuck, super finicky to work with, and it isn’t vegan. It’s a GREAT wax option though, for non-vegans.
Gel wax - 6 out of 10
Gel wax candles are super cool to look at and seem fun to make. But. The patent on the gel wax technology is held by only one company and the monopoly look is so last century. (Literally.) It also can cause horrible burns if the candle is disturbed after burning and can leak out of the container during shipping.
Palm wax - 10 out of 10
Palm wax is just as much of an environmental disaster as paraffin. The palm industry is notorious for illegal logging and palm oil production. Rainforests are being illegally clearcut across the southern hemisphere to make way for palm farms. I, personally, would like to keep a level of eco-diversity across the globe for a few more generations, thanks very much. While there are responsible, sustainable sources for palm, they're pricy as all fuck and we're trying to keep it accessible here!
Ok. So why soy wax?
For LTL, using 100% soy wax in our candles is a no-brainer.
✅ Soy is a renewable resource.
✅ We can source our soy wax from US-based farmers.
✅ It’s vegan.
✅ It lasts forever.
✅ There are few to no health concerns related to its burning.
✅ It has a great scent throw.
✅ It’s easy to work with.
✅ It’s affordable for our micro-business.
Sure, there are problems with soy wax as well (how soy is farmed, the proliferation of planting soy instead of other crops, the problems associated with farm subsidies, etc.) but, for us, the pros definitely outweighed the cons.
So until the unicorn wax emerges that is environmentally friendly, safe, vegan, and affordable, we’ll be sticking with soy.