Yes, candle wax can be composted but only if it is made of natural and biodegradable ingredients such as bee or soy wax. Petroleum-based wax such as paraffin wax is not suitable for the compost bin as it is inorganic and will not break down.
It’s important to know what your candle is made out of before you look to dispose of it as this can direct you of how to best to get rid pf it. Only candles made out of organic waxes should be put into your compost bin as microbes will only be able to break down organic compounds.
The amount of time your candle wax will take to biodegrade varies depending on the wax type. If you can’t compost your leftover candle wax there are other options. Reuse the excess in craft projects or discard the wax straight to the landfill. We will go over all of the above in the article below.
How Do You Dispose Of Candle Wax?
Composting your organic candle wax is an awesome way to get the best out of the remnants of a candle that has finished burning.
In short, composting is a microbial system that breaks down organic plant matter into usable soil. This is a great addition as fertilizer to your garden, adding valuable nutrients and minerals for healthy plant growth.
If your candle is made of organic materials such as bee wax, soy, palm or coconut then it is safe to put into your composting bin and will be able to keep on benefiting you!
Candle lovers will know it’s very easy to start a collection of tiny scraps of wax. All these little bits put together can actually be usable. You can make all sorts of things from the excess wax including but not limited to:
- multi-scented candles
- wax melts
- bug-repellent candles
- air fresheners
- fire starters
- furniture polish
- letter seals
Instead of throwing away old wax, keep a stash of leftovers in a cupboard somewhere and before you know it you will have an ingredient for an awesome DIY project for the home or for gifts.
If your leftover candle wax is not compostable nor do you wish to indulge in any DIY or craft projects. Then the quickest way to discard your candle wax is to simply put it in your landfill.
To easier get rid of the wax you can scoop it out of the jar with a spoon. You can freeze or melt the wax to make it easier to remove.
Of course this is not environmentally friendly, so in the future-leaning towards choosing candles of organic materials can help you to lessen your landfill load and carbon footprint.
How Long Does Candle Wax Take To Biodegrade?
When you add your candle wax to the compost there will be varying times of breakdown before the compost is able to be used in the garden. This timeframe differs based on the type of organic wax and its biodegradability.
Breakdown time is centred around the chemical make-up of an organic compound and how easy it is for microbes to dismantle the chemical bonds and break apart the structure of the wax.
Biodegrading reduces pollution in the land, air and sea as the compounds are able to be used again and again.
The table below offers a guide on the biodegradability of popular candle wax choices.
|Type of Wax||Time To Breakdown|
|Paraffin wax||100 years|
|Bee wax||1 month|
|Soy wax||4-6 weeks|
|Coconut wax||4-6 weeks|
As you can see, paraffin wax is pretty stubborn! Paraffin is petroleum-based and often used in candles for its cost and texture.
Making good choices about consumer purchases of candles can help steer us away from products that linger in our landfills and help protect the earth!
Organic candles will take on average 4-6 weeks to completely break down in a compost bin.
Whether you are a beginner or expert, we recommend using soy candle wax for all your candle making needs. This soy candle wax by American Soy Organics comes in bead form allowing them to easily melt. This wax can even be melted in the microwave allowing you to perform your projects with less equipment.
How Do I Tell If A Candle Is Made From Paraffin Wax?
Deciding what to do with excess wax pretty much relies on knowing what the wax is made out of. But in some cases where you have received a candle as a gift, the label doesn’t say or you lose the label you may not know what your wax is made out of!
You don’t need to be able to exactly identify the wax, just if it is the inorganic paraffin wax or organic material. Luckily paraffin wax has some identifying features that make it easy to pick from the crowd.
If your candle does not mention what it is made out of on its label, then it is almost certainly paraffin wax. Organic materials are something to be proud of and will often be very obviously advertised.
If the candle lacks a label, hold it up to the light overhead and observe. If the candle is uncoloured you should see a translucent sheen on the candle indicating it to be paraffin wax.
You can also rub your finger across the surface and if it leaves an oil slick on you, then it is likely paraffin. If you press your finger down and the wax cracks or dents rather than smoothly molds downwards, then it is paraffin.
Should You Dump Out Candle Wax?
When you blow your candle out and take a whiff of the beautiful aroma, you will probably notice your candle has a large pool of wax lingering. You might be wondering if you are supposed to tip this out?
The answer is no. This wax has accumulated as the candle burnt and will cool down and solidify ready to burn again when the candle is relighted.
If you pour out this pooled wax it will cause the wick to burn quicker to reach down to the wax and overall your candle will not last as long.
Sometimes candles may have an issue with the wick burning faster than the wax and the wick will drown itself within the wax. Pouring off some wax may help in this instance but this is usually due to a poorly made candle and the problem will reoccur.
Pouring off wax is also very messy! Once the wax is poured it thins out and exposes more surface area to the air, thus cooling and drying very quickly and causing dried drips down the side of the candle.
Paraffin wax is the most common base for commercial candles and is not compostable nor biodegradable, it can either be reused or discarded to landfill.
Composting your organic candle wax is a great eco-friendly option to disposing of any excess wax! It can continue to benefit your garden even after it stops burning. Excess wax also has endless other uses around the home for the crafty folk who hate to have any waste and love a challenge.
The length at which it takes wax to break down varies depending on the chemical make-up. Organic waxes will biodegrade in 4-6 weeks in your home compost.
You should only have excess wax when your candle reaches the end of its wick and the end of its life as a candle! Any wax pooled inside a candle should be left to continue to burn the next time the candle is lit.