There’s never been a better time to start out thinking of ways to make your wedding more environmentally friendly, and each detail of the large day can make a giant difference. With that in mind, let’s take a closer have a look at a wedding tradition that tends to fly under the radar with regards to going green at your ceremony, and what you can do about it.
Is Burning a Unity Candle Bad for the Environment?
Unity candles have long been a typical sight at weddings and have been especially popular over the past decade. The unity candle ceremony is an attractive, spiritually powerful highlight of the celebration with broad appeal to couples from all faiths. But is burning a unity candle bad for the environment?
Technically, yes. Any candle, when burned, emits carbon and volatile organic compounds that contribute to the general pollution of the atmosphere. Fortunately, the emissions from a single candle are pretty low and most unity candles are made from top quality waxes that produce little smoke when used correctly. There are far worse things that each one of us do to the environment every day.
The issue with Traditional Petroleum and Paraffin Wax Candles
So, what’s the issue? It lies within the materials used to make candles and the size of production. Over one billion tons of wax is used to produce candles every year, and the vast majority of that wax comes from paraffin. Paraffin wax was introduced within the mid-19th century as a cheap alternative to earlier candle making materials like beeswax, animal tallow, and whale oil. Unlike their predecessors, paraffin candles are easy to supply and provide a slow and even burn. They’re also naturally odorless and are ideal for combining with essential oils to create pleasing scents.
Paraffin wax, however, is also an alkane hydrocarbon that’s extracted from crude oil, making it a petroleum product very like gasoline, diesel fuel, and plastic. Paraffin wax also has a very low melting point (just above 100 degrees Fahrenheit) and must be mixed with additives like animal-based stearic acid to forestall it from melting on a warm day — a problem still frequently encountered by candle enthusiasts through the summer months.
With concern over the usage of petroleum products in light of their environmental impact, shrinking oil reserves, and catastrophes like the April, 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion within the Gulf of Mexico, there was increased popular interest in finding natural alternatives to paraffin wax. The past decade has seen an enormous increase in new candle waxes for the primary time in over a century, with renewable agricultural-based candle materials like palm wax leading the way of environmentally responsible candle production.
Palm Wax Candles – A Sustainable Alternative
Palm wax is produced by extracting palm oil from the fruit of the aptly named oil palm, which grows naturally in Malaysia, Indonesia, other parts of Southeast Asia, and Africa. Both the fruit and oil are edible, and palm oil has been used as cooking oil, particularly in Europe and Africa, because the early 20th century — it can be found as an ingredient in lots of foods around the world today. A versatile substance, the other uses of palm oil include soap, detergent, and even industrial lubricant. Palm oil also shows promise as a so-called biodiesel fuel, which emits less carbon dioxide than gasoline and has the advantage of being fully renewable.
When grown properly using sustainable techniques, oil palm fruit provides much greater yields for palm wax than other agricultural waxes like soy. Since palm wax is taken from a fruit that may be picked rather than harvested, less land and significantly less energy is required to produce large quantities, helping to lower pollution and to protect the environment. Oil palm production also benefits many poor economies, rather than a huge oil company, and enables local farmers to start out small plantations and earn a livable wage. Palm wax candles, meanwhile, require almost no chemical additives to create, making them a more organic alternative to petroleum-based and synthetic candles.
Advantages of Palm Wax Candles over Paraffin Wax
But are palm wax candles really superior to other candle waxes? reaction kettle Palm wax candles have several distinct advantages over other candle types. They are easier to mold than paraffin candles and have a higher melting point (over 130 degrees Fahrenheit). This implies palm wax candles are less more likely to be damaged by heat and, more importantly, they burn slower, cleaner, and more evenly than other sorts of candles.
Palm wax candles are particularly suited for being mixed with color, and their increased hardness makes it possible to create exotic textures and styles that are often too difficult, delicate, or expensive to reproduce on paraffin candles. Palm wax candles also hold and “throw” scents better than paraffin, allowing candle makers to make use of fewer additives while creating more unique and complex aromas than ever before.
It’s unclear whether palm wax will ever replace paraffin because the wax of choice for candles world wide, but expect to see many more palm wax candles over the approaching years. Their popularity will little question increase even further as crude oil becomes dearer while oil palm production becomes more efficient. This natural and renewable alternative is here to remain.
Your Wedding Is Your Voice
A single unity candle for your ceremony may not seem like much when it comes to the larger picture, but every decision you make does make a difference. So, if you’re trying to think of how to make your special day a little greener (and maybe somewhat brighter as well), keep in mind that palm wax candles are proving to be an exceptional environmentally friendly alternative.