What’s Healthier: Soy Candles or Beeswax Candles?
As paraffin candles gain notoriety for being unhealthy, soy candles have risen in fame as a healthy alternative. True, soy wax is a renewable resource, and soy candles are biodegradable. They also last longer than paraffin candles. However, are soy candles truly good for the environment? Of course, we believe beeswax remains the most environmentally friendly candle material. But we’re not just biased. Here’s why you should choose beeswax candles over soy candles.
- Environmental Impact: The soy industry is closely linked to deforestation. Soybean production has caused forests to be cleared and tilled, leading to destroyed habitats and soil erosion. The Amazon rainforest is one of the soy industry’s biggest victims. Deforestation there suddenly rose in 2015 and is continuing to rise due to an increase in demand for soy products. Beeswax, on the other hand, is a natural byproduct from the beekeeping industry. Honey bees’ bodies regularly produce beeswax to construct the combs in their beehives. When beekeepers are ready to collect honey, they remove the wax caps of the honeycomb cells and sell the wax to us.
- GMOs and Pesticides: Most soybeans are grown from genetically modified seeds. These seeds have been altered to become resistant to an herbicide, glyphosate, enabling farmers to heavily use herbicides to kill weeds without killing their soy plants. In addition to herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers are commonly used in commercial soybean farming practices. These chemicals pollute the environment, and traces of them may be found in soy wax. With beeswax, there is a less direct risk of exposure to pesticides. (If the bees are pollinating in fields that have been chemically treated, trace amounts can end up in the beeswax.)
- Chemical Processing: Soy candles go through several chemical treatments before they are ready for sale. In the process of making soy wax from soy oil, the oil is typically bleached and deodorized. The soy wax resulting from this process has a low melting point not suitable for anything larger than a container candle. In order to create a solid wax for votive and pillar candles, additives like paraffin and stearic acid must be blended into the candle. In the final step, fragrance oils and dyes are often added to create scented candles. Bleach, paraffin, fragrance oils, and dyes are all toxic chemicals that can be harmful when released into the air. On the other hand, we make The Beeswax Co. candles entirely without chemicals. In fact, the only ingredient we use is 100% pure beeswax. Beeswax is a dense material that has a natural honey-like scent and beautiful coloring. Every batch of our candles is unique because its color and scent are determined by the batch of beeswax we use.
- Light Spectrum: When buying candles, it’s important to consider what kind of flame the candle will produce. Soy candles tend to produce a white, cool toned flame (think of fluorescent lighting or the light emitted from your cell phone screen or TV at night). Beeswax candles emit a more natural light that is within the same spectrum of the sun. Therefore, beeswax flames tend to be warmer and brighter than soy candles.
- Candle Life: Because beeswax is a much denser material than soy wax, beeswax candles should burn for a longer amount of time than soy candles. Mixing soy wax with paraffin to make the material denser doesn’t help, since paraffin burns quickly, too.
Initially, soy candles may seem like a healthy alternative to paraffin candles. But they’re no match for beeswax once you compare how each is sourced and made.
Interested in trying out our candles? Order some today.