Are Candles Bad for the Environment?

The use of candles is traced back to different places such as Rome and China. For instance, in approximately 200 BC, the Chinese used whale fat to make candles. The evolution of candle manufacture from whale fat, tallow, cinnamon, and beeswax to the recent use of purified animal fats and paraffin wax to make candles has significantly affected the environment in one way or another.

In general, candles are not bad for the environment. Candles are normally made of naturally occurring and biodegradable materials, and the combustion reaction they permit rarely produces harmful gases. However, some artificial scents may produce toxic residues when burned.

This article gives a comprehensive examination of whether candles are environmentally friendly, the reasons why scented candles are harmful to the environment, the candles that are considered eco-friendly, and whether candles are bad for the atmosphere. Therefore, continue reading since you will learn a lot from this article.

Are Candles Friendly to the Environment?

Depending on the elements used to make the candles, they can lead to adverse effects on the environment or impact the environment positively when burning. Therefore, the next time you want to buy a candle for lighting your room, go for the one that has negligible, mild, or no negative impact on the environment. How will you distinguish between candles with adverse negative environmental effects from those with minor or completely no ecological implications? Research points out that candles made from paraffin wax are hazardous to both human health and the environment due to the discharge of carcinogenic compounds and the production of soot.

Most probably, the cheapest candles that you will find at the nearest store have paraffin wax as the primary ingredient. Since paraffin wax is a byproduct of fossil fuels, it tends to discharge carbon into the air, contributing to the already high percentage of carbon in the environment. Additionally, the burning of candles that have lead at the core of the wicks releases excess lead into the environment. Considering that lead is a poisonous substance, it gradually degrades the environment. As much as the cotton wick is assumed to be the best alternative, if the cotton plant is not grown organically, there are high chances of emitting the synthetic compounds into the environment when burning.

On the other hand, it is essential to know that candles made from soy wax and palm oil are environmentally friendly since they are natural, thus producing clean flames. The problem with these two types of resins is that their sustainability is inconsistent. This is to say that the certainty of the environment’s safety can only be on candles manufactured from beeswax and coconut wax.

The sustainability of beeswax is guaranteed due to its natural state. Also, the natural state of coconut wax and the fact that the coconut trees do not necessarily require fertilizer and pesticide application makes candles made from coconut wax the best for maintaining a healthy environment. Some candle manufacturers have mastered mixing coconut wax and soy wax, and they result in manufacturing eco-friendly candles that are good for the environment. So the bottom line here is that candles can either be environmentally friendly or not depending on the type of wax and wick used to make the candles.

Why are Scented Candles Bad for the Environment?

The use of scented candles in a ceremony or special occasion might improve the smell of the room and maybe make it match the theme of the event. However, if the scents and fragrances used to make the candles were not from organic sources such as plants, you put both your health and the environment at significant risk. Do you know why synthetic scents used in candles are bad for the environment? Environmental experts suggest that scented candles are dangerous to the environment, especially if the fragrances are synthetic. Synthetic scents mean that they have been manufactured in the laboratory by mixing various chemicals to obtain the desired smell.

Are you aware that a significant proportion of the scented candles you see on supermarket shelves are majorly manufactured from several unknown chemicals? Once these chemicals find their way into the water bodies such as rivers and lakes, they tend to lead to a loose water surface tension. The results are detrimental to the plants and animals around the water bodies. They absorb the toxic chemicals since the loose water surface tension allows poisonous substances to get into the water quickly.

Additionally, most of these synthetic fragrances have significant levels of phosphates which, once released to the environment through candle burning, can lead to excessive germination of algae on lakes and rivers, thus depriving the aquatic life of oxygen. In most cases, these synthetic fragrances are derived from petrochemical products like coal and petroleum, containing volatile organic compounds that, when burnt, escape into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases.

Which Candles are Eco-friendly?

From the above discussions, you certainly now know why some candles are dangerous to the environment and why others are good for the environment. So, you know that candles that have been manufactured from organic natural products like plants are the best since they do not emit toxic substances into the air and environment around. Therefore, if you want to be guilt-free concerning the state of the environment, you should consider one of the following candles that are very friendly to the ecosystem.

  • Hyggelight

The Hyggelight is a unique candle that is eco-friendly due to the way that it has been made. For instance, the candle contains soy wax that has been grown in an exclusively organic environment. This is to say that the candle contains no chemicals that come from pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Therefore, the candle has zero additives and toxic substances. Additionally, the candle comprises a cotton wick that does not have any elements of lead.

  • Sanari 

The sanari candle is made of coconut wax blend put in a special kind of glass, mainly the one for drinking wine. Its primary ingredient is coconut wax which makes it an eco-friendly candle due to the production of a clean flame. The candle also contains a wick that is free from any bleaching agents. The lighting of the candle has been improved with the fact that the wick is reinforced with organic essential oils.

  • Hype Noses

The wicks of these candles are made of wood, which is an excellent alternative to lead and zinc. The scents used in these candles are one hundred percent natural from different plants such as tomato leaves.

  • Pure Beginnings

Form the collection of Pure Beginnings are unique candles that are purely made from soy wax, with some reinforcement from essential oils. It is important to note that both the soy wax and the essential oils are naturally and organically sourced. The ingredients of the wick are also certified with the assurance that they pose no threat to the environment.

Are Candles Bad for the Atmosphere?

Whether candles are bad or good for the atmosphere entirely depends on the levels of carbon and volatile organic compounds that they discharge into the air while burning. For instance, candles that have been made through the incorporation of synthetic fragrances have high levels of volatile organic compounds that lead to polluting the environment. Please note that the extent of air pollution due to these compounds is almost similar to the kind of pollution that vehicles cause due to petroleum combustion.

According to scientific studies, these compounds fall in the category of greenhouse gases. Therefore, once the compounds reach the atmosphere, they lead to a global warming effect. Additionally, candles made from paraffin wax release excess carbon into the atmosphere, and the result is similar to that of volatile organic compounds. Excess carbon trapped in the atmosphere leads to global warming, which negatively affects atmospheric conditions such as extreme temperatures and other extreme weather conditions.

On the other hand, candles made from natural sources such as beeswax, coconut wax, soy wax, and palm wax do not produce carbon, making them suitable for the atmosphere. Additionally, candles made from pure natural and organic cotton wicks are also good for the atmosphere since they also do not emit carbon into the atmosphere. Also, candles with natural and organic scents are not bad for the atmosphere since they do not release greenhouse gases when burning.


For the final remarks, some candles are environmentally friendly while others are not. This depends on the source of the ingredients that are used in the manufacture of candles. You should know that soy wax, beeswax, palm wax, and coconut wax are among the best elements for candle manufacture since they are naturally sourced. However, the certainty of these waxes being friendly to the environment depends on whether they were organically produced.

Candles made from paraffin wax are unsuitable for the environment since they release carbon and volatile organic compounds into the atmosphere. Additionally, synthetically scented candles are bad for the environment since they are primarily phosphates and other toxic chemicals that degrade the ecosystem.

Different candles such as Pure beginnings, Hype noses, Sanari, and Hyggelight are eco-friendly due to their ingredients’ natural and organic state. Lastly, candles can only be bad for the atmosphere when they emit excess carbon and greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. This happens mainly with candles made from paraffin wax.

Gene Botkin

Hello, I'm Gene. My family belonged to the aristocracy of Old Russia, and I created this site to re-establish a familial connection with them. My aims are to generate interest in aristocratic virtues, such as beauty, honor, and loyalty, and to spread Russian culture.

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