GoodLight Natural Candles Votives Unscented - 4 Count
You can now breathe a little easier with GoodLight Natural Candles Votives Unscented. GoodLight Natural Candles Votives Unscented are classic utility candles made from 100% palm wax and contain no additives. The wick is pure cotton and contains no lead or metal of any kind. Like any votive candle, GoodLight Natural Votives Unscented are designed to melt and fill their holder with molten wax. Make sure to use a holder just wide enough to fit the votive. GoodLight Natural Candles Votives Unscented will burn long and bright without harmful smoke or soot. Going green with candlelight just got affordable.
GoodLight Natural Candles Votives Unscented Features:
About Paraffin Toxicity
Paraffin is a byproduct of petroleum, a non-renewable resource. And while it might seem obvious to some, many people don’t realize that inhaling the fumes from paraffin candles is not good for your health. According to a study done at South Carolina State University in 2009, the chemicals found in the fumes of paraffin candles are linked to cancer, birth defects, and such respiratory ailments as asthma––especially when there are many of them burning in enclosed, unventilated spaces like restaurants, churches, or a room in your home.
After it’s scraped out of oil refineries, paraffin wax is usually: bleached by adding dioxin; texturized with acrolyn (a known carcinogen); and then mixed with animal-based stearic acid (a nasty byproduct of the meatpacking slaughterhouses) to harden it so that it can be made into candles. When paraffin candles burn, they emit black soot and toxic fumes—similar in chemistry to diesel exhaust—containing poisonous chemicals such as benzene, toluene, naphthalene, tri-decane, tetra-decane, penta-decane, and hexadecane. Unfortunately, the FDA doesn’t require candle makers to list the ingredients in candles, so you never really know what you’re burning.
While many conscious consumers have made the switch to candles made of palm wax or beeswax or soy wax, the candles currently burning at most restaurants, churches, temples, etc. are most likely made from paraffin wax. There are two reasons for this: price and knowledge. Regarding price, paraffin candles have historically been much cheaper than their non-toxic alternatives. But now there is GoodLight, and they offer discounts to restaurants and churches so that they can switch to clean-burning candles and only spend literally pennies more per candle. The other reason--knowledge--is something you can help us with. Please help educate the managers and servers at your favorite restaurants, and the candle buyer at your church or temple, so that we can all breathe a little easier.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is paraffin?
Paraffin is basically the "bottom of the barrel" petroleum sludge that remains in oil refineries once every other product (jet fuel, gasoline, motor oil, etc.) has been extracted. It's a combustible waste material that is the primary ingredient for more than 90% of the world's candles. Read more about the toxicity of paraffin candle fumes here.
Why is it that I occasionally have trouble lighting my candles? Am I doing something wrong?
To answer the second question first: You're not doing anything wrong, but there is something you can do to solve this issue. If you ever have a wick go out during the initial lighting of the candle, simply hold the match or lighter to wick where it meets the candle for 3 - 10 seconds. This usually does the trick. Now, to answer the first question: During GoodLight's first year, they only used uncoated wicks in their candles because most wicks on the market are coated with paraffin. The paraffin coating helps the flame initially light the candle when it (the flame) first touches the candle. Without that coating, their wicks sometimes didn't have enough "fuel" to stay lit when they first touched the candle. Kind of embarrassing, but luckily this was only happening to a tiny percentage of their candles. Earlier this year they found a supplier with a vegetable oil-coated wick that tested positively for us, and they recently started making GoodLight with these wicks. So far, it looks like this new wick has eliminated the earlier problem.
What is palm wax? Is it related to palm oil?
Palm wax is basically a refined version of palm oil. Palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree. One of many types of palm trees, the oil palm is the most efficient oil-producing plant in the world, yielding 4 - 10x more oil per acre than rapeseed or soy. This means that you can get a lot more oil out of a lot less land when you're growing palm trees, allowing more land elsewhere to be preserved. Palm is grown in tropical regions where rainfall is abundant, necessitating less irrigation than most crops. And instead of being an annual crop that needs to be mowed down every year (causing topsoil erosion), it’s a non-GMO tree that lives for 25 years on a plantation, producing one ripe bunch of fruit each month to be harvested; this makes it a rapidly renewable resource.
I've heard that palm oil is related to rainforest destruction and wildlife habitat loss. Can you please elaborate, and explain how GoodLight is involved?
Yes, they can definitely elaborate on what is a very complex issue: Over the past few decades there has been some serious environmental degradation in Southeast Asia where more than 80% of the world’s palm oil is grown; much of this destruction has come from timber and palm interests. Peat lands have been drained, forests have been bulldozed, wildlife habitat (especially that of the orangutan) has been lost, and communities have been displaced—all very nasty stuff that is undeniably wrong.
As counter-intuitively as it may seem, the more they learned about this dark side of palm, the more compelled they felt to get involved. That’s because they saw an opportunity to make a difference. They don’t feel—as some of their fellow environmentalists do—that boycotting palm was or is a realistic way to effect a change. The global market for this commodity is too huge (it is the most voluminous plant-based oil on the market today), and it will continue to increase as populations grow. They believe that the only way to have any sort of positive impact on the palm industry—the only way to put an end to deforestation, the only way to shift the paradigm of this monoculture towards permaculture—is with market-driven change.
This approach has been inspired by such triple-bottom-line companies as Patagonia. They didn’t quit making cotton clothing because it’s the most pesticide-laden crop in the world; instead, they switched to organic cotton. The Organic Trade Association states that global production of organic cotton rose 20% from 2007 to 2008, and global sales of organic cotton grew 35% between 2008 and 2009. That’s obviously not all of Patagonia’s doing, but their influence is significant. This line of reasoning about market-driven change extends to organic foods, recycled paper products, alternative energies, and palm oil.
In 2003 the World Wildlife Fund got key industry and government entities together and founded the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. The RSPO developed a set of criteria to redress the negative impacts palm was having on our planet and its people. These standards promote sustainable farming practices, environmental stewardship, and social responsibility. In 2008, the RSPO certified its first sustainable plantations and mills in accordance with these criteria. Since then, more growers and mills have been certified, and it’s beginning to have an impact: In 2010, 3.5 million tons of palm oil came from RSPO-certified plantations—double the amount from the year before. One of the great things about the RSPO certification process is that once a company gets its first plantation or mill certified, the company has to set a prompt timeline to bring all of its holdings into compliance.
Truly living up to the name roundtable, the RSPO hosts a yearly international conference that brings together industry players, government bodies, NGOs, and environmental groups to discuss the issues brought on by palm agriculture and to find solutions to its problems. With so much input and feedback, the organization continues to evolve and increase its efficacy. While some continue to criticize the RSPO for not doing enough, GoodLight is a proud member of the RSPO that enthusiastically supports its efforts. It is no small task mediating so many conflicting interests, and the RSPO has done a commendable job of stepping up to the plate and initiating progress towards sustainability.
GoodLight is also a member of GreenPalm, an organization that keeps track of how much crude palm oil (and palm kernel oil) is produced by RSPO-certified plantations, and then brokers its sale on the market. Since there is a limited separate supply chain for RSPO-certified palm oil, and since they are a small company that cannot afford their own plantations and mills, it is difficult for us to guarantee that the wax used to make their candles comes from palm oil that is “identity-preserved.” They therefore pay a premium for sustainable palm oil through GreenPalm to “book and claim” the source of their raw materials. This way they know that their (and your) money is going to RSPO-certified plantations and the farmers who have made the choice to be part of the solution (like Sime Darby, who supplied the certificates for all of their palm oil/wax in 2010). The idea behind this is simple: pay growers more money for crops farmed sustainably and thereby incentivize environmental stewardship. (It’s the same thing they do every time they buy an organic banana or apple at the grocery store.) GreenPalm also donates a percentage of their transactions to the RSPO. To date, GreenPalm has given the RSPO over $2 million so that it may continue to grow and help shape the industry in a positive way. Of course, GoodLight just got started and for now is just a small player in the world of palm. But the more candles they create—the more GoodLight they spread around the world—then the more they can influence positive change. They want to be a part of the solution, specifically by advancing moratoriums on deforestation, creating wildlife migration corridors and waterway buffer zones within existing plantations (large-scale permaculture is possible!), and ensuring corporations are responsible to the communities from which they are profiting—all the time while offering their customers affordable, clean-burning, non-toxic, paraffin-free candles.
What can I do with leftover wax? Can I compost it? What about the packaging? Can it be recycled?
If there is any wax or wick remaining when you are done burning your GoodLight Natural Candles, you can definitely compost it. Please recycle the empty aluminum tea light cups, as well as their packaging. Thanks!
About GoodLight Natural Candles
The people behind GoodLight Natural Candles are good friends Jon and David. They met each other in Telluride, Colorado in 1994, where they had both moved after college. Like a lot of folks in Telluride back then, they were tree hugging hippie ski bums. (They still are—at least on the inside; they just have shorter hair now and don’t get in as many days on the hill as they’d like.) Back then, Jon was also a nascent entrepreneur who had been hand-dipping beeswax tapers in his home studio for about 3 years and selling them locally. Now Jon’s other company, Bluecorn Naturals, is the country’s premier source of beeswax candles.
In 2005, David came to Manhattan for a month to work with Jon at the Bluecorn retail booth in the Union Square Holiday Market, where he had been plying his wares every December since the market’s inception in the mid-1990s. It was at this point that Jon shared his vision with David. For years, Jon said, he had wanted to develop an affordable, non-toxic candle to replace all the little paraffin votives burning on the tables of New York's restaurants -- and everywhere else for that matter. (Although Bluecorn’s candles are all natural and non-toxic, beeswax and soy wax are too expensive to compete on a mass scale with the much cheaper paraffin—so the key was in the word affordable.) For the next few years, Jon and David diligently searched all over the States and the rest of the world for this elusive affordable non-toxic candle. It took a lot of trial and error to find a product they believed in, but they finally did it. Now they are delighted and proud to bring you GoodLight Natural Candles, a brand new source of light for a brand new decade....because you breathe what you burn.
The GoodLight Commitment
Like many of you, they are concerned with the well-being of our planet. That’s why GoodLight works with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and GreenPalm, organizations that are pioneering sustainability in palm farming. GoodLight pays a premium to RSPO-certified growers who have implemented the most efficient and sustainable farming practices, and who believe in social responsibility and protecting native forests.
They are also Contributing Members of 1% For The Planet, donating 1% of all of their revenues to non-profits combating climate change and global warming. Recently they partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset all of their carbon emissions by contributing to their reforestations and avoided deforestation projects. The result: GoodLight's offices, as well as all of their shipping, are now carbon-neutral!
- All of their candles are paraffin-free, non-toxic, and clean burning.
- They use only 100% palm wax that contains no additives or blends.
- They only use cotton wicks containing no lead or zinc or other metals.
- All of their packaging is printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks.
- And they promise to give you the friendliest service in the candle industry!
GreenPalm is an organization that advances the sustainability movement in the palm industry by keeping track of how much crude palm oil (and palm kernel oil) is produced by RSPO-certified plantations, and then brokering its sale on the open market. Since there is a limited separate supply chain for RSPO-certified palm oil, and since they are a small company that cannot afford their own plantations and mills, it is impossible for them to guarantee that the wax used to make their candles comes from palm oil that is “identity-preserved.” They therefore pay a premium for sustainable palm oil through GreenPalm to “book and claim” the source of their raw materials. To elaborate, when they started GoodLight in 2010, they paid GreenPalm to book and claim enough RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil to make the wax needed to make all the candles they wanted to produce during their first year in business. This way they know that their (and your) money was going to RSPO-certified plantations and the farmers who have made the choice to be part of the solution. Furthermore, GreenPalm donates a percentage of our transactions to the RSPO so that it may continue to grow and help shape the industry in a positive way.
This is obviously a complex issue that you can really dive into if you want. They suggest going to GreenPalm's website to get a better understanding of the role the organization plays in the palm world: www.greenpalm.org.
The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil was created in 2003 by the World Wildlife Fund in conjunction with government and corporate interests invested in the palm industry. The mission of RSPO is to advance sustainable palm farming practices and to promote social responsibility. Each year the RSPO hosts an international conference that brings together industry players, government bodies, NGO’s, and environmental groups to discuss the issues brought on by palm agriculture and to find solutions to its problems. While it sometimes seems like environmental concerns like forest degradation and wildlife loss are “greenwashed” by certain groups in the palm industry, we are a proud member of the RSPO and enthusiastically support its efforts. It’s a difficult task mediating so many conflicting interests, and the RSPO has done a commendable job of stepping up to the plate and initiating progress towards sustainability.
A few of the key elements to RSPO’s criteria for sustainable certification include:
- Environmental and wildlife assessments must be made for every plantation, and conservation plans established to protect native forests and animals
- A zero-burn policy for plantation operators who are members
- The right to use the land must be demonstrated, and is not being legitimately contested by local communities
- Farming practices maintain or improve soil fertility and stability, as well as maintain surface and ground water quality
- Integrated Pest Management techniques are used to combat pests and weeds
- Renewable energy is maximized
- Plans to reduce pollution and emissions are put into effect
- Members promote positive social programs
- Members commit to operating transparently
1% For The Planet
GoodLight is proud to be a contributing member of 1% For The Planet, a U.S. non-profit that oversees the distribution of millions of dollars to other approved non-profit organizations around the world. Each year GoodLight will donate 1% of all of their sales—not just the profits—to organizations combating global warming and climate change.