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The Pros & Cons of Recycling Candle Jars… Let’s all agree scented candles are amazing.

Posted on 25 July 2017

Recycling Candle Jars… Let’s all agree scented candles are amazing. They smell incredible and nothing comes close to replicating the soft mesmerising, flickering light of a soy candle.

The downside is that all candles involve fire; a potential danger when instructions are not followed carefully.

I am big on sustainability and doing the right thing for the planet. It’s such a nice feeling to be able to reuse things before throwing them into the recycle bin when we can. I am also big on doing the right thing for my customers and my family. That means I have set a few guidelines to ensure my candle creations are as safe as possible. Safety is paramount in my mind, I could never live with myself If I was responsible for an injury or an accident.  

The pros and cons of recycling glass candle jars!

Glass - Exploding candle jars are quite a legitimate problem. A very prominent candle brand has recently been on Fair Go and in the Herald, they have been taking a beating for their candle jars exploding. Consumers are outraged that the exploding candles are putting themselves and their homes at risk.  Often, these incidents occur due to a lack of education, common sense or simply forgetfulness. 

Me, well I fall into the forgetful category. I get so caught up in doing something (crafting) that I lose track of time. Before you know it I forget what time it is 😊 Three hours escape into five hours and then a loud crack brings me back to the reality that I left my candle burning too long.

Another one I am guilty of is burning a candle and either falling asleep or completely forgetting about it. Then I find it still going in the morning ☹ Naughty naughty me.   

Typically, what causes glass candle jars to explode, is that the candle has burned too low, causing an excessive build-up of heat in the bottom of the jar. A simple draught at this stage, from a door or window and crack, or even a body whisking past and it's over rover.

The safety instructions tell us to watch the candle, to never leave it unsupervised. To stop burning the candle when 1 cm of wax remains but… life takes over, we get busy and it’s really our fault isn’t it, because we didn’t follow the safety instructions.

Due to my easily distracted nature, super creamy soy wax is always my preferred choice. Why because it burns at a much lower heat than paraffin wax, palm wax or beeswax. The lower melt point causes much less strain on the glass.

Recycling glass - Not every glass container can be used to safely make candles; glass can become stressed from constant heating and cooling of the wax. Glass weakens as it accumulates heat bumps and scratches from use.

If you’re looking to recycle a previously used candle glass jar, the rule of thumb is to only recycle the jar once, and ONLY once. Then up-cycle the jar, (make it into something else) or lastly pop it into the recycle bin. So it can start its journey all over again 😊

When recycling glass candle jars, always ensure the thickness of the glass wall (width) is more than 2mm thick to avoid explosions. Glass vases and many drinking glasses are not suitable as they are too thin and are not made to withstand heat. I personally won’t refill any companies candle jars that are branded as this is a trademark violation, that could lead to costly legal action.

How to remove old wax from previously used candle jars.

  • Turn jars upside down and place onto an old baking tray with sides to catch the excess wax.
  • Place into a cool oven, heat oven to 65 degrees.
  • Remove tray carefully from the oven when the soy wax has melted out of candle jars.
  • Leave the jars to cool, scrape wax away from the neck of the jar.
  • Wash with warm soapy water. I find sugar soap the best 😊

Allow to dry and follow these simple (mostly) fool proof, safety practices.

Select glassware intended to withstand heat.

Carefully check glass candle jar has no cracks chips or deep scratches.

Select the lowest melt point soy wax to keep the glass cool.

Select the smallest wick possible, to ensure enough heat to melt soy wax across the jar.

Ensure wicks are always centered. 

If you or your customer have the most amazing jar ever, and you or they love it to pieces, I recommend you make candles in tea lights or in a small tin, (that fits inside the jar) then place inside the jar. That way you get the pleasure of the candle and the satisfaction that your precious jar will be with you forever!!!

Oh, and the knowledge that you’re doing the right thing by not risking anyone’s safety 😊

Have a look at these Blogs for more Info On Soy Candles and Jars:

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