Composting candles


Not only on the Advent wreath but everywhere around wintertime, people are using candles to shine a light, to create a warm atmosphere and to enjoy their comfy scent. Most candles are made of wax and since we at ABEREUS care for a better resource use, we were wondering what to do with the remaining wax – either when it has run down on the side or when there are leftover candles.

Would it be possible to compost the wax? That’s an interesting question and the intuitive answer may be influenced by the special properties of wax. We all know that it’s a malleable substance once it’s a little above room temperature. When we rub it between our fingers or light a candle, the wax can be bent, formed, or just turns into a liquid. Once it cools down again, it will retain the shape it had last.

This has led to the common use of sealing letters since the Middle Ages, where a sender would melt the wax and push their seal onto it to prove that it was them who closed it.

A second interesting characteristic of wax is that it is insoluble in water. When you put wax into water it will float on top. That’s why we use wax to protect objects from water. However, it can easily be dissolved in fats or oils.

For our composting question, though, the important part is the origin of the wax. Those which are derived from petroleum should not be composted. If it has been synthesized by plants or animals, it is biodegradable, and you can put it on your compost. Examples are beeswax, lanolin, or jojoba oil. The thinner your slice of wax is, the faster it will degrade. So, putting a candle stub on your compost will probably remind you for a long time of the last winter season.

For more ideas about materials, get connected and join us for a better resource use.