As sustainability becomes a more mainstream topic, many brands have taken a greener approach to business.
So where does that leave Yankee Candles?
The company has promised to reduce its energy usage and waste.
They also encourage their customers to upcycle old candles, but their choice of wax doesn’t appear to be the most sustainable.
We’ll detail everything you need to know about how eco-friendly Yankee Candles are.
1. What Are Yankee Candles Made Of?
Yankee Candles are arguably best known for selling candles in sturdy glass jars.
Most of their candles are made from paraffin wax, although they have many soy candles too.
However, many of these soy candles are labeled as a “soy blend,” suggesting they have blended soy wax with another kind of wax.
They use cotton wicks. The candles are scented with fragrance extracts and essential oils.
2. Are Yankee Candles Made Sustainably?
As far as candles go, Yankee Candles are not particularly sustainable.
While glass is renewable and recyclable, it is very heavy.
Glass requires a lot of energy during the production process and when being transported due to its weight.
The main concern with this is most energy in the US is from coal and gas, which are non-renewable (which is true for most countries). So, high energy use from these sources is not sustainable.
In terms of emissions, plastic has a lower carbon footprint than glass.
But, this does not negate the fact that plastic is non-renewable and can only be recycled a limited amount of times.
Paraffin is not the most sustainable wax choice as it is non-renewable and is not biodegradable.
3. Are Yankee Candles Bad for the Environment?
Paraffin wax is not renewable because it comes from petroleum. There is a limited amount of petroleum on the planet, so it cannot be replenished when it runs out.
Mining for petroleum to make paraffin wax is also detrimental to the environment.
Drilling an oil well means the area needs to be cleared of vegetation, which disturbs animals living in the area. Mining has also been linked with air and water pollution.
Meanwhile, soy wax is renewable, but as far as natural wax goes, it is not the most sustainable option.
Demand for soy products can lead to deforestation as land is cleared to make room for soy production.
This can also cause soil erosion while clearing land and processing the soybeans has a carbon footprint of its own.
Using the term “soy blend” is ambiguous as it does not indicate how much pure soy wax is in the candle, what other waxes it contains, and if those waxes are also non-renewable.
This makes it hard to determine if these blends are biodegradable and renewable.
4. Are Yankee Candles Toxic?
Yankee candles do not seem to be toxic.
Many consumers worry about candles containing lead, but Yankee Candles uses pure cotton wicks, which are lead-free.
It is highly unlikely to come across lead candles because it is banned in the US.
The amount of chemicals emitted from burning candles is minimal. This includes scented candles.
Yankee Candles scent their candles with essential oils, which are natural and plant-based, and fragrance extracts. Essential oils are toxic if consumed.
Some fragrance extracts come from a natural source like plants, but it is still a broad term, and it’s hard to discern exactly what is in these fragrance extracts.
There are also concerns about candle dyes. It is unclear what kind of dye Yankee Candles uses to color their products.
It is not uncommon to find synthetic dyes containing aniline in candles.
High exposure to this compound was found to cause pain, headaches, cardiac arrhythmia, tremor, and death in animals, while the EPA regards it as a probable human carcinogen.
This substance can also cause water pollution and harm marine life and plants. In the environment, aquatic life can be harmed if synthetic dyes enter water supplies.
With that said, Yankee Candles are a member of the National Candle Association.
The group claims that synthesized fragrances used by member companies do not release toxic compounds.
5. Are Yankee Candles More Eco-Friendly Than Other Candles?
Yankee candles do not seem to be greener than other candle brands.
Some brands avoid synthetic waxes altogether and stick to renewable waxes like coconut, soy, palm, or beeswax.
However, using pure lead-free cotton wicks is a good sign. Cotton wicks are natural, renewable, and biodegradable.
While glass is renewable and recyclable, as mentioned earlier, it does have a high carbon footprint.
6. Are Yankee Candles Biodegradable?
Yankee Candles are usually not biodegradable, because paraffin wax candles are not biodegradable.
Pure soy wax is biodegradable, but it is unclear if a “soy blend” is.
Whether it is biodegradable depends on whether the blend is fully made up of natural waxes like beeswax, palm wax, or coconut wax.
If the blend contains paraffin wax, then it is not biodegradable.
7. Are Yankee Candles Compostable?
Yankee Candles are usually not compostable because paraffin wax is not compostable.
Soy wax is only compostable in its pure form. So, a soy blend containing paraffin wax or another synthetic wax is not biodegradable.
Most scents and dyes are also not compostable as they can leech inorganic or harmful substances into the surrounding environment.
Pure essential oils are compostable since they come from plant-based sources. However, synthetic dyes and fragrances are not compostable.
If you’re not sure whether a fragrance or dye is compostable, it should not go in your compost bin.
Otherwise, the candle could potentially leach chemicals and contaminate the compost.
8. Are Yankee Candles Recyclable?
You cannot put candle wax in your recycle bin. Recycling facilities do not have the means to turn candle wax into new products.
However, you can find ways to recycle the wax yourself.
For example, you can use the remaining wax from an old candle to top up a new candle or blend a mixture of wax from several Yankee Candles into a whole new candle.
Glass is recyclable. However, you will need to remove the wick and ensure there is no glue or wax left on the glass jar before doing so.
9. Are Yankee Candles Sustainable?
Yankee Candles claim to create its products with sustainability in mind.
Many of their products are recyclable, and they pledge to be responsible with waste and energy use.
However, paraffin is not sustainable since it is non-renewable and not biodegradable.
Soy is a greener choice, but blending it with paraffin wax or other synthetic waxes can negate the benefits.
Plus, other natural waxes like coconut wax seem to be greener than soy.
10. Are Yankee Candles Vegan?
Many Yankee candles are vegan.
Paraffin wax and soy wax do not contain animal products. However, any Yankee candles containing beeswax may not be vegan-friendly.
Essential oils are vegan since they come from plants. It can be tricky to determine if fragrance extracts are vegan.
A rule of thumb for vegans is to avoid fragranced candles labeled with: honey, milk, musk, castoreum, civet, ambergris, lanolin, and hyraceum as these are all animal products.
11. How to Dispose of Yankee Candles?
When disposing of Yankee Candles, you will need to separate the wax from the glass jar.
Since paraffin and many soy blends are not biodegradable, the wax and the wick will need to go in your general waste bin.
You can take the clean glass jar to a glass recycling facility.
You can also upcycle it and use it to store pens, plants, a new candle, or other items.
Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Yankee Candles
If you’re looking for the most eco-friendly candles available, read our article here.
And if you’re wondering whether gel candles are a better option, then this article will tell you everything you need to know.
If you would like to make your home smell nice without having to burn stuff, wooden oil diffusers are an option.
Finally, wax melts have also acquired an eco-friendly reputation – learn more about them here.
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