Having spent a large amount of time in a small apartment, I have gotten into the habit of lighting candles to make it feel more like home. Unfortunately, I did not know that many candles are produced unsustainably, and can be bad for environmental and human health depending on how they are produced. Paddywax offers an alternative to larger, often problematic candle brands with their line of high quality, earth-friendly candles in durable containers designed with reuse in mind.
The container that holds the candle is made out of hand blown glass. While glass is energy intensive to make, the containers that Paddywax candles arrive in are made with durability and re-use in mind. The containers are food safe and after you are done burning the candle you are encouraged to repurpose the container. To help encourage this, they even have a margarita recipe on the back as the container is the right size to have a second life as a pretty drinking glass. The wax of the candle itself is made out of a soy wax blend and makes use of cotton wicks. Compared to conventional candles (such as the large brand yankee candles) these are improved, sustainable choices for materials. Most candle companies use paraffin wax, which is a byproduct of petroleum made from refined crude oil. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, paraffin wax candles can be a source of indoor air pollution, far exceeding recommended limits. The EPA also states that soot leftover from burning candles may contain carcinogenic toxins like benzene and toluene. The paraffin wax is used because it has a stronger scent when burned, but the soy wax that Paddywax uses is sourced from a sustainable source and also does not support the oil industry.
All Paddywax candles are manufactured at their factory in Nashville, Tennessee. The company is rather small, with less than 150 employees responsible for pouring, mixing, and testing the candles. The glass is blown in a studio, which is incredibly energy intensive, yet it is a durable product. Soy wax is made from soybean plants. The plants are harvested, the beans are cleaned, cracked, de-hulled, and rolled into flakes. The oil is then extracted from the flakes and hydrogenated, then they are mixed and poured into the glass vessels. The majority of soybeans are grown in the United States in the great plains region. Despite being made intentionally to minimize waste, there is a dearth of information regarding what specific farms they source materials from and how they are to work for.
Paddywax was founded by Gretchen Hollingworth in the late 90s as a hobby. However with increasing popularity, she hired more people to help execute her vision. From the beginning, Paddywax has made sustainable choices compared to many of their competitors. The company has tried to reduce waste and avoid toxic ingredients, pushing the candle industry in an earth-friendly direction. Located in Tennessee, Paddywax is a supporter of the one tree planted initiative, which offsets some of the energy and carbon associated with candle and glass manufacturing. Further, they have donated large amounts of money from their national parks collection to help maintain and protect public lands in the United States. As an employer they seem pretty decent. Their employees receive healthcare and competitive wages along with room for mobility within the company. Though not thoroughly discussed on their website I could find nothing negative about their labor practices.