Living an eco friendly lifestyle these days is not just about driving less or making sure that you eat right, but it's about every little purchase you make. When we truly drill down into what it takes to be environmentally friendly, every single purchase we make in our lives will have an impact on the planet in one way or another. When it comes to candles, you might be surprised to find that not all candles are made equal. Here, we're going to show you why, but also what you can do to choose the best eco friendly candles.

Are Your Candles Eco Friendly?

It's a question we have to ask because you might not know that your candle which sets the mood for dinner parties and get-togethers, helps you unwind from a stressful day, or makes you feel relaxed and at peace is actually causing an issue. Looking for eco friendly candles is a fine art because it's not just about finding one candle that is eco friendly, but it's about making sure that it is truly sustainable in every sense of the word. Here, at Nellamoon, we provide candles that are original, handcrafted, and made from natural soy wax. If you want to browse our products or receive a regular newsletter from us, you can sign up with your email address below!

How Do You Choose Eco Friendly Candles?

If you are looking for an eco friendly candle, it's beneficial to see how the candles we use on an everyday basis became the norm. The early versions of candles were made from natural materials such as animal fats, fish, and whale fat. Once the Industrial Revolution came along, biodegradable natural ingredients were replaced with petroleum by-products. By the time the 1850s came around, paraffin was used as a way to make candles cheaply. And these paraffin candles have become the most widely used form available. This means we've got to work harder to find eco friendly candles. But here are five ways for you to make the process easier.

aromatherapy candles

1. Stay Away from Paraffin

The most important thing that we can say is that you should stay away from paraffin in all of its forms. While paraffin-based candles are affordable and come in a wide variety of scents, there are a wide variety of dangers to using paraffin candles. Many experts have said that they can be just as hazardous to your health as second-hand smoke. Burning paraffin candles releases toxins into the air. The toxic pollutants could cause a wide variety of health problems including kidney damage, allergies, and could potentially result in cancer or nervous damage. A study was conducted in 2009 by the South Carolina State University that examined paraffin candles and compared them to natural alternatives. The conclusion was that none of the vegetable-based candles produced any toxic chemicals, but the warning was stark for those who use paraffin candles. As they release unwanted chemicals into the air, they could contribute to the development of health problems like asthma and allergies.

2. Pay Attention to the Ingredients

When you are choosing a candle, a wax made with vegetable or natural materials is a better option. They will benefit the environment as well as your health. It's important to know the main alternatives to paraffin. The three main alternatives are as follows. 


Stearin candles are usually made from palm oil, which is why it's important to pay attention to the list of ingredients. Palm oil is not always sustainable. This is why it's crucial to make sure that you choose a sustainable palm oil source. But they can also be made from animal fats or coconut oil. It is a completely biodegradable resource, which means that you can put them into the compost when the candle has run out. The benefit of these candles is that they burn longer and are almost soot free candles.


A very natural option. And as beeswax comes from organic beekeeping, they are an incredibly environmentally-friendly approach. Therefore, you have to consider this as the most expensive raw material as far as candles are concerned. But if you are looking for a candle that is truly eco friendly in every sense, organic beeswax is the best one for your money, and you may require a lot of it. The reason it is so expensive is because of the limited resources. The fact is that the bees need to build a honeycomb, which is a timely process. The worker bees excrete the wax through their glands, and as beeswax candles have a long burning time and a lovely natural scent, it's worth every penny. But you can rest assured that when you are buying beeswax candles that they contain no admixture, purely 100% beeswax.


Made from the oil of soybeans, it is biodegradable and CO2 neutral. Always a high-quality product, but you need to make sure that the candles are made from GMO-free soy. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. All our products are made from 100% non-GMO all-natural soy wax. Soy wax is a great green alternative. When you compare this to paraffin, you will get a candle that lasts longer, and the great thing about soy wax is that it burns cleaner, resulting in less soot, which many candles emit during burning. In addition, soy wax is a great choice because it carries fragrances easier, and doesn't require any chemical assistance. This results in a well-balanced scent throughout any room.

When you understand the unhealthy aspects of paraffin candles, choosing a healthy alternative is a no-brainer. When you choose candles made from natural or renewable resources, they will be healthier and environmentally-friendly. But it is crucial to pay attention to the ingredients. When you are looking at the ingredients list, you have to be aware if the candle has any synthetic materials listed. Some suppliers of stearin and soy candles may add materials such as dyes, fragrances, and sometimes, they could add paraffin! This is why it's important to check if the soy candle is actually soy. For the product to be labeled as a "soy candle," it only needs to be 51% according to the FDA. Stearin candles have to contain at least 90% palm oil to be labeled accordingly. Again, this means that 10% could be paraffin! It's important to know that the ingredients are actually 100% natural.

3. Look for Local Suppliers Where Possible

Choosing eco friendly candles is not just about the materials the candle is made from, but it's about choosing the right supplier. When you are looking at how to help the planet, where you buy your product is just as important as what you buy. When it comes to being aware of your carbon footprint, the impacts of having items delivered from another country will have a massive bearing on the planet. It's always important to try and buy as locally as possible. When this is not possible, and you have a preferred supplier (which, to be fair, we all do), think about ordering items and having them packed into as few boxes as possible. Every little helps in this respect. And when you are in contact with a supplier, there is no harm in asking them about their missions and their values. They are usually more than happy to tell you what they are specifically doing to help the planet. Every company has its own approach to helping the planet. And whether this is about reusing responsibly sourced materials, or following a very strict set of guidelines, you can be confident that they are doing everything they can for the planet, so you can buy a sustainable and ethically sourced candle.

4. Pay Attention to the Wick!

These days, candle wicks are predominantly made from cotton. But once upon a time, they were made from lead. In 2003, the Consumer Safety Products Commission outlawed lead-core wicks, but it doesn't mean that lead has completely gone. This is where we have to point out the many candle providers can sometimes get away with not being 100% free of lead. The law states that it has to contain less than 0.06% lead by weight. And it is estimated that up to 30% of candle wicks could still contain heavy metals. It is still very unlikely that you will have a lead wick, especially if you buy new candles, but you might want to think twice if you've got a candle from the 1970s in your garage that you want to break out! But even if you have concerns, the National Candle Association voluntarily agreed to avoid using led wicks way back in 1974! Therefore, the chances are very slim. But, if you are concerned they're not safe, you can check to see if there is lead in the wick. Rub white paper on the wick of an unburnt candle. If the wick leaves a grey, almost pencil-like mark, there is lead in it. 

5. Is the Jar Reusable?

Many people like to use tea lights because they are small and cheap. But tea lights are not eco friendly. Because tea lights usually come in metal containers, they are not recyclable. When you are purchasing candles, ensure that they come in a jar. And if you are an avid candle collector, you may already have piles of burnt-out candles with the wax stuck at the bottom. But rather than just recycling it, you can do something different with it, and repurpose your jar. The fact is that any candle jar is a lovely, artistic piece of decoration all by itself, and while it may be frustrating to try and remove the wax, there are a handful of methods to clean leftover wax:-

Put it in the freezer

Put the candle container into the freezer for a few hours, and once it has frozen, you can use a knife to remove the remaining wax. Put some warm water on a paper towel, and you can wipe away any leftovers.

Double boil it

If your candle jars have very stubborn leftover wax, you can fill a bowl with boiling water, and put the candle container inside it for a few minutes. When the wax has softened, you can remove the jar, and pour out the melted wax.

The quick wash

If you are using soy wax candles, this is a very simple method. Firstly, remove as much of the leftover wax as you can with a sharp knife. Fill the container with hot water and soap from the faucet. Let it sit. Scrub the inside, and you are done!


As you can see, using eco friendly candles is not just about the wax, but it's about a wide variety of things that guarantees you are getting something that actually is what it states on the tin. When it comes to candles, we can do our best to be environmentally-friendly, but the reality is that we can make our own, so we know exactly where the ingredients come from, or we get our candles from a reputable supplier. Being eco friendly is not just about the life you lead, but it's about making sure every product you buy has that seal of approval. It's not easy because candle providers will try to pull the wool over your eyes. But if you can focus on buying non-paraffin candles that are made from vegetable or natural ingredients, while also making sure that the wick and the jar are also eco friendly, you won't go far wrong!

What do you look for in an eco friendly candle? Is it important to be completely soy or beeswax? Are you more about the ethical side of things? Or are you someone who wants to know that the supplier you purchase from is actually doing everything they can to benefit the environment?

With eco friendly candles, it's important to go with a supplier that you trust. And this is why, at Nellamoon, we pride ourselves on USA grown, 100% non-GMO, all-natural soy wax. If you are looking for candles that are ethical, eco friendly, but also light up a room, get in contact with us. Or if you want to have more information sent straight to your inbox, subscribe to get all the latest information.

You may also like to check out our latest blog posts:

7 Ways You'll Benefit from Burning Candles

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Our Ultimate Guide on How to Repurpose Candle Jars

March 31, 2021 — Arielle Ricci