27 March 2009

Parrafin Candles - Are They Bad?

Isn't THIS a loaded topic? I mean, come on. I sell candles - paraffin candles, in an attempt to make enough money to stay home when my maternity leave is up. So this topic is very near and dear to my heart, and has caused me some deep thought and will require further soul-searching if I am to continue.

Here's a quote from a blog I read, Crunchy Domestic Goddess:

"For those of you not intimately knowledgeable about standard paraffin candles, paraffin is essentially hydrocarbon, or a heavy alkane fraction distilled straight from crude oil. Even if 80% of your electricity comes from coal and fossil fuel fired power stations, burning candles is very polluting and certainly very greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide emissions intensive, even more so than electric lighting. In other words, for every paraffin candle that is burned to replace electric lighting during Earth Hour, greenhouse gas emissions over the course of the one hour are increased by 9.8 g of carbon dioxide."

This quote is actually from Crunchy Chicken. Thanks.

So - in an attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, people may burn candles. But in this process, they actually contribute MORE to pollution if they burn paraffin candles. Ouch.

I've had my reservations about paraffin for a little while, now. I've wondered, since PL's candles burn clean and nothing is left in the container when it's gone, WHERE DOES IT GO? I can see the benefits of beeswax candles. And maybe soy, but I have yet to do any research on emissions in that respect. Burning ANYTHING is bad, I imagine.

Hmmm. To sell or not to sell? Kind of makes my entire life into a big hypocritical mess, doesn't it? Thoughts?


Jeff said...

In this day of the dollar store, I’m surprised you even can sell candles, let alone make enough money at it to stay home with Delilah.
To be honest, I hate paraffin candles. I can’t stand the smell of them when you blow them out. The scented ones are even more frightening. What chemical concoction was used to create that nice rose scent? Where did the ingredients come from? These days I am highly suspicious of anything from China.
We use locally produced bees wax candles to avoid these issues.
But remember, being a hypocrite is part of the human condition. So you’ll have to decide for yourself what to do. Money matters. I’ve sold all kinds of stuff produced in ecologically disastrous methods and I sleep ok at night.
Is there any reason you could not add in products sourced from other suppliers to you party mix? Say fair trade coffee? Or Organic Foods? Or Locally produced handy crafts? Or maybe make bees wax candles yourself to sell? Eventually you could find eco friendly products to replace everything in the Party Light (?) catalogue, thereby starting your own company and allowing you to franchise out to other born again hippy, ecologically conscientious, stay at home moms ;)

Berry said...

Hey Jeff,
You are totally right; despite my optimistic start, I am NOT earning enough to stay home. But I've started a new business (for the time being), I'll be doing daycare, just two kids. It will likely drive me nuts but at least I'll get to stay home with D.
I was discussing with a friend the benefits of beeswax candles; I'll be going to a local apiary to get some.
China products, for the most part, do suck. I go to the DollarStore sometimes and just shake my head at what they offer. How can people justify spending only a buck on that wood box? Or that glass vase? Do they think that someone was actually paid a fair wage to make it? I question how some people can sleep at night.

As for paraffin, and PL candles, their safety (or lack thereof) been on my mind for some time. Gak. I can't sell this stuff. I had already had conversations with myself about how all their products come from China. High quality or not, it's still being shipped from across the world.

Once the parties I have booked have tapered out I will resigning from selling the stuff (after I redeem the hundreds of dollars of gift certificates I have).

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