Can You Recycle Candles?

Candles are somewhat of a luxury item, and if you like to burn them a lot you can find yourself spending a small fortune on new sticks each year. When one burns down, you’ll be left with some wax and sometimes a jar too that’s left over after the wick has burned away.

You can recycle the remains of candles to make a new candle. Buy some new wicks and you can melt down the old wax. Re-use the old candle jar if you have one, or get creative with a small glass or mug to hold the wax while it solidifies around the wick.

eight multicoloured candles

How To Melt Old Candle Wax To Make A New Candle?

Wax turns to liquid quickly with gentle heating, just like you see happen when a candle has been burning for a few minutes.

Some people assume that because the flame is very hot, it must require a lot of heat to melt the wax.

At What Temperature Does Candle Wax Melt?

Simple chemistry tells us that heating a solid helps it to become a liquid, and heating a liquid helps it to become a gas. The most well known example is heating ice makes water at zero degrees Celsius, and heating water to 100 degrees Celsius creates steam.

Candle wax softens from around fifty degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit), and should be liquid by around sixty degrees (just over 140 Fahrenheit).

What Is The Best Way To Melt Candle Wax?

Assuming your candle wick has burnt away, you’ll need to heat the wax to make it possible to form it into a new candle shape.

You can gently heat wax in an old pan on the stove or in a bowl in the microwave. The key is to slowly melt the wax, as it can quickly change from solid to liquid if you go too quickly and over heat it.

Can I Mix Candle Wax?

If you’re feeling creative, and you’re a serial candle burner with a lot of old candles collected up, you might be wondering if mixing the candle wax is a good idea.

You can mix candle wax to get unique effects in the appearance of the wax, and scent too if they’re scented to begin with. Depending how uniform you want the resulting colour to be, it’s better to melt the wax in a pan than the microwave and stir accordingly.

What Should I Make A Candle In?

You’ll need a vessel to hold the wax once it’s melted and hot, as it will need to cool gradually around the new wick. The size of the container needed will depend on the amount of wax you’ve melted.

You can make a candle in any waterproof container that’s reasonably resistant to heat. A mug or glass is a good option, whereas a thin plastic bottle cut in half is a poor choice as it may melt or deform with the heat of the wax.

Remember that there’s no guarantee that the candle will come out of the container before it’s used, so you may need to use it as a jar for the candle until it’s used up.

How To Make A New Candle With Old Wax

All you need to go with your melted wax and container is a new candle wick that can be bought at craft shops or online at places like Amazon.

Pour the melted wax into the container. Push the wick vertically down into the wax keeping it vertical as it descends. If the wax is too thick, you may need to start again and pour the wax around the wick. Allow the wax to cool. Hold the wick in place until the wax solidifies sufficiently.

While positioning the wick, entire that it finishes just above the bottom of the candle, otherwise it may protrude form the bottom once the wax has hardened.

Also be careful not to touch the wax at any point, it may be hot enough to burn, and you could also leave a finger print in the wax that’s still visible in your finished candle.

If you struggle to keep the wick in place as the wax cools, there’s another method to make things easier.

Start again with melted wax, but this time instead of pouring the wax around the wick, hold a pencil where the wick will go. Keep back a small amount of wax for later.

Because the pencil is solid, it will be easier to keep in place, then once the wax is solid, pull it out. the hole that’s left will be filled with the remaining wax, so don’t worry if it snags the wax on the way out. Leave the wax to fully harden.

You can then lower the wick into the hole, and fill the hole around it with the remaining melted wax. You’ll still need to hold the wick steady, but it won’t be able to go far so don’t worry if it’s a little off the middle. Once hardened, you’re officially a candle maker!

Donating Old Candle Wax

Once your candle has finished burning, you may not wish to create a new one yourself. In fact, the majority of us throw them away in the bin, possibly using the jar again if it’s got one, but more often recycling it with other domestic glass.

Candle makers often accept used candle wax to create their environmentally friendly candle ranges, or even budget lines to save on raw materials. Look up your nearest candle maker to see if they’d like your old candle wax.

If you’re unable to find anyone that’s interested, you can try the Recycled Candle Company if you’re in the UK, who accept donations by post.

Recycling Candle Jars

Premium candles are typically sold in distinctive jars, which you may have another use for to give them another lease of life.

You can recycle candle jars with your glass kitchen bottles and jars with your regular glass recycling collections. Candle jars are manufactured in a similar way to glass food and drink packaging so are recyclable.

Confusion often surrounds recycling because other types of glass like window panes typically cannot go into the recycle bin with bottles and jars.