Can You Compost Candle Wax? (And Is It Reusable?)

If you are environmentally conscious and are always looking to adopt sustainable measures, you’ve probably wondered if you can compost candle wax. While the answer primarily depends on the main ingredient of the candle, in most cases it is recommended to avoid using candle wax in your compost pile.

Because a majority of candles are created from paraffin wax, it is not a great idea to add them to your composting heap. For the uninitiated, paraffin wax is completely non-decomposable because it contains several petroleum-laden elements.

Although you can add beeswax candles to the compost pile, they too take several years to completely break down. So, can you compost candle wax in the first place? If so, what kinds of candles can be reused? If not, what are the alternatives? Is there any way to reuse candle wax? Let’s find out!

Is Candle Wax Compostable?

Yes, you can certainly compost specific candle wax, and depending on the type of wax it can take from a few weeks to several years to completely decompose. The time window entirely depends on the candle’s biodegradability.

While you can certainly compost candle wax, it is only possible when the wax comprises organic material that is also completely biodegradable. As mentioned earlier, one of the top examples of this would be beeswax. Alternatively, or additionally, you might also want to use soy wax.

However, regardless of the type of wax you use, refrain from using any wax that contains petroleum-based properties. One of the biggest culprits would be paraffin wax and it is not recommended as the product is unsuitable for compost piles. It is also highly inorganic and will take several decades to completely break down.

The time taken for candles to break down will entirely depend on their chemical components and organic structure. If the organic structure is simple, microbes can conveniently and quickly dismantle the existing bonds thereby disintegrating the structure of the wax.

Because of these many consequences, it is best to choose candles that come with faster biodegradability. This will not just reduce land-level pollution but also help clear up the seas.

Typically, candles made of coconut wax and soy wax need 4 to 6 weeks to completely breaking down. In the case of beeswax, it barely takes a month or less. However, if you are using candles made of paraffin wax, be prepared to wait until 100 because that’s how long it takes to decompose these kinds of wax. 

For a better understanding of the kind of wax you are using, check the manufacturing label of the candle. Do this even before you buy a product. Remember, you should only add organic wax candles to your compost pile. Unless you do this, microbes won’t be able to disintegrate the complex properties, thereby leading to bigger issues.

Is Candle Wax Reusable?

Yes! Candle wax is completely re-usable, and once you follow the right guidelines you can conveniently and easily create quality candles from leftover wax. In case you are wondering how to use this leftover wax, here are the steps you need to follow.

Necessary Items

Even before you choose to recreate a candle from leftover wax, it is crucial to get the right items for the job. Typically, you will need some simple materials that are available worldwide. Some of them include:

  • A bunch of burnt-out candles or leftover wax
  • Any old container. This can be a jar, a cup, a shell, or anything in between.
  • Powerful glue guns
  • Wicks with pre-waxed properties
  • A pair of tweezers
  • A comfy pair of gloves
  • Boiler

Once you’re done sourcing the main ingredients, it’s now time to focus on creating the candle itself. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Get a large saucepan, and fill half of it with clear water. Make sure the water doesn’t spill when you add a smaller saucepan inside the bigger one.
  • Give a gentle boil to the water
  • Get your candle bits and pieces of wax and transfer it to the smaller pan that is already inside the bigger pan
  • Now give a larger boil

You might be wondering why we are using two saucepans in the first place. Well, this is the double boiler concept that prevents the candle from accidentally catching fire. Because this wax won’t touch the primary source of heat, this is perhaps the easiest and safest method. 

Follow the below process to make your candle from leftover wax:

Step 1:

Get your leftover candle wax and transfer it to a hot plate. Wait out and allow the wax to gradually melt. If you are confident enough, you might even use a butter knife for scraping off the trace amounts of wax. However, the harder wax often tends to be problematic here.

Step 2:

Once the wax starts melting, get your glue gun and glue the end of the wick to your container, shell, or any item that you had initially shortlisted for making the reused candle. For best results, we recommend mason jars.

Step 3:

Finally, when you find the wax melting, get rid of the wick with your tweezers or tongs. During this process, you also need to get rid of the debris and all the trace amounts of wax that have been created as part of the process.

Step 4:

Now wear your gloves and gently pour the fully melted wax into the container of your choice. Make sure it is just under the rim. In case the alignment doesn’t appear proper, just use some stick or pencil to keep it upright.

Allow the wax to solidify throughout the night. You can now also cut out the excess wick from the wax’s surface to give a fancier shape to your candle.

And you’re done! Light your newly made sustainable candle take a credible step towards an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Can You Throw Away Melted Candle Wax in the Bin?

Because you don’t know where the candle wax will end up, it is never a good idea to randomly dispose of candle wax. If the wax somehow ends up in a drain or a pipe, it might end up clogging it, creating greater problems.

With that said, you CAN throw candle wax in garbage bins. However, refrain from doing the same in the case of compost piles. You can also reuse candle wax in several different ways as discussed in the following sections.

Alternatively, you can also recreate a new candle with the used-up or burnt wax. Either way, always remember that candle wax is not recyclable, but reusable. Thus, you can dispose of them in your home or local garbage bins.

Can You Melt a Candle in the Microwave?

Yes! You can melt candle wax in the microwave, as long as you follow the right guidelines. Here are some of the steps to get you started:

  • First, pour out the wax in a microwave-safe container. While you can still use ceramic products, look for the microwave-safe label.
  • Take a small container of water and heat it in the microwave for one minute, periodically until the final temperature is no more than 80°C.
  • Transfer the wax to the container with water and continue to heat it at an interval of two minutes. Do this, until the wax fully melts down.
  • Finally, when the wax reaches the desired temperature transfer it from the microwave and keep it in a covered and even container.
  • Let it cool for a while and once the wax reaches 70 degrees, gradually add your preferred color and scent.
  • Add a gentle stir to the wax to ensure that the colors and the scents are well-blended.
  • The wax is now ready to be made into a candle. Just pour it into your candle frame and allow it to cool.

And that’s how you’re left with a beautiful, reused, and remade candle.

What Can You Do With Leftover Candle Wax?

There are dozens of things to do with your used candle wax. Here are some simple pointers:

  • Create a new candle from scratch (We have already shared the guidelines and tips in the previous sections)
  • Lubricate zipper bags for the easy gliding motion
  • Get fancy with your letters and use the old wax as a seal (Game of Thrones style)
  • If your drawers and doors have been squeaking a bit too much, use old wax to get them in line. Rubbing wax will clear out the squeaks from the hinges.
  • Build a fire starter kit with leftover wax. However, exercise ample caution and follow the right guidelines while doing this.
  • If you find your shoelaces to be worn out, rub them with some old wax and they are as good as new

Since you now have a clear understanding of the different types of candle wax, make an informed and judicious choice to contribute to the environment and become more sustainable. Because we have also suggested guidelines and ideas for using up leftover candle wax, you will have an easy time navigating through the options and choosing one that works best with your requirements.

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About Rinkesh

A true environmentalist by heart ❤️. Founded Conserve Energy Future with the sole motto of providing helpful information related to our rapidly depleting environment. Unless you strongly believe in Elon Musk‘s idea of making Mars as another habitable planet, do remember that there really is no 'Planet B' in this whole universe.