Why Alibals is venturing away from soy wax in candles
I'm Alex, founder of Alibals. I took a candle-making course back in March 2018 where I learned how to use soy wax to make scented tin candles. I was told soy wax was 'non-toxic', 'non-carcinogenic', 'natural' and 'eco-friendly' in comparison to paraffin (mineral) wax. Paraffin wax is the most common wax used amongst candles as it is a cheap by-product of the refining process of oil production, meaning it comes from a non-sustainable source as it's from fossil fuels. Although some could argue you are preventing waste by using the by-product, I don't believe in supporting an industry which exploits the environment and eco-system. This is why I turned to soy.
However, I learned a lot of deforestation was due to the ever-increasing demand for soy which has impacted eco-systems in the Amazon, amongst others. Bio-diversity is vital to keep, not just for the sake of the animals living in these habitats but also due to the importance of carbon dioxide absorption; when you remove mature trees and replace them with young soy plants, less CO2 is absorbed as young soy plants aren't able to capture and hold as much carbon as the trees. This is bad news for climate change.
We also need to think about the pesticides used for soy - you may know that around 90% of all soy beans are owned by Bayer (previously Monsanto). This company uses a damaging and potentially cancer-causing weed killer named Roundup, which contains Glyphosate.
Learn more about these companies here.
The soy wax I have at the moment is produced in England, UK but I am unsure whether the soy beans are grown here too which is why I'm moving away from this wax, which leads me onto my next point. If soy beans or soy waxes are flown thousands of miles to reach us candle-makers in the UK, how can we possibly state it as eco-friendly? A lot of these buzzwords are going around at the moment as people search for more environmentally aware products. As making candles is not directly beneficial to our planet, I label mine as eco-conscious. This is because I am constantly looking for more environmentally conscious ways of delivering my handmade products to you.
I have settled upon a rapeseed & coconut blend of wax for my container candles and I've been experimenting with a coconut wax for my pillar candles, although unfortunately, it's quite a soft wax. This means for some of the more intricate candle designs, it's difficult to remove the wax from the silicone moulds without breaking. I've since invested in a vegan & palm oil-free stearic acid which can harden the wax but I am also keeping an eye out on different vegetable waxes which could be used instead.
Watch this space!