What impact do candles have on the environment?

White scented candle decorating coffee table with books and matches
At NOTES®, we believe in the power of a well fragranced space. For us, a candle is more than a slab of wax: it's a home and difference maker. But, as essential as candles have been to our environment, for centuries they haven't been all that great to it. Big fragrance has been synonymous with a big footprint, and the candles that once fragranced our favorite spaces are instead left to fragrance our landfills.
The negative impact of traditional single use candles is multi-faceted and begins with candle creation. For many, the accessibility of paraffin wax makes it the most approachable ingredient for candle making. However, paraffin wax harvesting has detrimental environmental impacts. The process of de-waxing exhausts non-renewable resources through crude oil mining. By supporting the demand for crude oil and production, paraffin wax also supports the pollution and degradation of natural habitats.
Once the wax has been sourced, it must be poured into a vessel, or container. Much of the footprint of the candle industry is tied to this traditional single use vessel. Glass manufacturing is considered among one of the most energy intensive industries due to the high heat required to melt refine its production materials.
Finally, after the creation of wax and vessel, you have your candle. Well, almost. From the glass factory to the candle factory, and then from the candle factory to you, transporting bulky candles has heavy financial and environmental impacts. This transportation is typically over long distances and leads to increased carbon emissions: one of the leading causes of climate change. Not to mention, glass breaks, and common plastic protective shipping packaging only adds to the list of waste that a candle is inadvertently producing.
Then comes our favorite part (and let's be honest, yours too). You have your candle. That is, until you don't. A few weeks of romantic dinners, soothing baths, dinner parties, and working from home later, the candle is gone. The environmental toll, however, is not. An estimated 2 billion candles are sold in any given year, with an equal or greater number ending up in landfills. Each of these candles require thousands of years to degrade in soil.
With the earth in mind, NOTES® has pioneered a new way to candle. We hope to disrupt the single use lifecycle of the candle industry by creating a quality candle that can be used again and again. We start with a 100% all-natural wax blend made of rice bran, soy, and beeswax combined with non-toxic fragrances safe for people and the planet. We mitigate our shipping toll by using recycled corrugated boxes and 60% compostable bags. Most importantly, we end the disposal of single use candle vessels to create a candle refill system that not just fragrances your space, but becomes a part of it.
At NOTES® we choose refills over landfills, wax over waste, and purpose over profit, because we believe in the power of a well fragranced space and a more responsible way to candle.


Environmental Protection Agency. (2022, December 3). Glass: Material-Specific Data. EPA. https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/glass-material-specific-data

Facts & figures. National Candle Association. (2021, January 12). https://candles.org/facts-figures-2/

Orozco, D. S. (2021, Spring). Refinery pollutants and their effect on public health. The Public Health Advocate. https://pha.berkeley.edu/2021/04/11/refinery-pollutants-and-their-effect-on-public-health/

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