The Candle: Paraffin or Soy

The Candle:  Paraffin or Soy

The Candles

Votive Candles

With the “green” movement happening all around us, I’ve heard many people say that soy wax is greener than paraffin wax for use in the candles that we burn. I began to wonder if that was true, aside from the simple fact that soy wax is made from a grown product and paraffin wax is made from fossil fuel.

So what does “green” mean? “Green” is a term now widely used to describe minimal
negative impact to the environment, with an emphasis on conservation of resources, energy efficiency, and healthful interior spaces.

Soy wax is made from vegetable matter, using the oil from soybeans. The process requires the beans to be harvested, cleaned, cracked, dehulled and rolled into flakes. The oil is taken from the flakes and hydrogenated. This process converts some of the fatty acids from unsaturated, to saturated.

Paraffin wax is made by separating waxes out of crude mineral oil. This process creates lubricating oil as well as many other petroleum based products. There are 3 general waxes that come from the lubricating oil: paraffin, microcrystalline and petrolatum. Paraffin comes from the light lubricating oil distillates.

Both processes to make either soy or paraffin wax take place in factories, that themselves create their own negative impact on the environment.

Both soy and paraffin wax create soot when burned. Burn time for a stand alone soy candle is significantly less than a stand alone paraffin candle. On the other hand, a soy candle in a container will burn a little longer than a paraffin candle in a container.

There is no scientific proof that either type of wax is unhealthy for humans.

Both waxes hold candle color and candle scent equally well.  Candles and scents can be found in any number of varieties, but it is virtually impossible to create a taper candle with soy wax, because the wax is too soft.

The biggest difference is the renewable component. Fossil fuels are not renewable and soy is. I would say that soy is the “greener” of the two.  Although, the best candles, are the ones that make you the happiest.

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Sue Lichtenberg is the leading expert on candle making at The Cranberry Barn.  She has been creating candles since she was a young girl.

She is the founder of The Cranberry Barn.

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This entry was posted in The Candles, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Candle: Paraffin or Soy

  1. Pingback: Diana Rajchel » Thoughts on nature in the urban

  2. Alyssa says:

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