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Watching the flame dance and the lighting grow warm, reveling in the sudden intimacy of a space — candles are powerful. According to clinical integrative psychotherapist Chryssa Chalkia, "it is scientifically proven that scented candles can play an essential role in the physiological effects of mood, stress, working capacity, and overall mental health," as per Travel + Leisure.
But these anxiety-fighting effects surely lose their potency upon thinking about candle waste statistics. This is where refillable candles come in.
As detailed by Sustainability Champions and refillable candle company Foton Pearled Candle, research shows that just 8 percent of candle containers get recycled and more than 35 million candle containers get tossed into landfills annually.
Dawn McCormick of Waste Management Inc. of Florida explained to Tampa Bay Times that "glass jars must be clean, dry, and empty of all contents in order to be recycled." She went on to clarify that all wax, wicks, and lids must be removed. The average person unfortunately doesn't put in that effort, meaning their jars may not actually be recycled.
So, what's the answer? Refillable candles.
These are some of the best vegan and cruelty-free refillable candles for sustainable candle aficionados.
If you're currently looking at your questionable collection of empty candle jars that you don't know what to do with, or thinking about that jar coated in wax that you wishcycled, don't fret. Refillable candles are a substitute for traditional single-use candles, one that leaves tacky jars out of landfills. All you need is one container. It could be a saved candle jar, a thrifted glass whatchamacallit, or a fresh vessel from a refillable candle kit. Plus, it's like a little craft! Check out our picks.
Foton Pearled Candle
Inspired by "particles of light," aka photons, the Foton Candle company offers patent-pending, anti-tunneling refillable pearled candles that allow customers to transform nearly any vessel into a unique, unexpected candle.
Simply pour the non-toxic, plant-based, and biodegradable hard wax "pearls" into any fireproof container (as recommended), stick in a provided wick, and light her up! Plus, they're self-extinguishing, which makes them safer than traditional candles when used correctly.
Little Karma Co. Ltd Home Sweet Home Candle
As recommended by The Candle Connoisseur, Little Karma Co. Ltd was birthed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The brand's non-toxic, essential oil-infused coconut and rapeseed wax candles are handmade in small batches in Buckinghamshire. Each candle is vegan, refillable, can be personalized, and is free of paraffin, palm, phthalates, and lead. Plus, Little Karma's eco-friendly plastic-free packaging includes biodegradable bagasse stickers, recycled paper cards, and compostable tissue paper.
Good Chemistry Plant-Based Candle Refill Kit in Coconut + Chill
We've previously mentioned PETA-certified perfumery Good Chemistry for its vegan and cruelty-free fragrances, but the company also has a killer refillable candle system! For newbies, Good Chemistry has a plant-based candle refill kit, which includes a reusable glass vessel and an essential oil-infused wax insert free of parabens, paraffin, propylene glycol, and phthalates. Additionally, the wax formula and its packaging are biodegradable. That Coconut + Chill candle is really speaking to us.
Everly Candle Refill Kit
Many TikTok influencers, including @livingplanetfriendly, have shown the Everly candle company love. Encouraging candle lovers not to be "jar tossers," Everly offers carbon neutral candle refill kits in enticing scents like Marshmallow + Tobacco and Palo Santo + Sage. The brand's phthalate- and paraben-free coconut-soy wax blend comes in a microwavable bag, which is made of 60 percent compostable materials and 40 percent plant-based polyethylene. Plus, Everly is a 1% for the Planet member!
Pott Candle Large Eucalyptus Refill
Pott — another brand recommended by The Candle Connoisseur — implores people to show love to the planet and local artisan makers. The brand's candle system keeps it simple with gorgeous hand-thrown pots made by U.K.-based artisans and solid rapeseed and coconut wax refills. Simply choose a pot, choose a hand-poured wax refill scent, and you've got yourself an Instagram-worthy candle. If you fall in love with Pott, a money-saving refill subscription is always an option.
Arbor Made Mellow Breeze Refill
Arbor Made's patent pending refillable candle vessel has a squishy bottom that makes removing hardened leftover wax simple. Just push and pop it out! The brand's innovative vessel is meant to be reused again and again with its own candle refills, which feature organic cotton wicks and soy wax. Plus, for every candle sold, Arbor Made donates one 1 of profits to environmental charities like Think Wild, Green Forests Work, One Tree Planted, Ocean Conservancy, and more.
ILLUME Refillable Boxed Glass Candle
PETA-certified candle company ILLUME has a gorgeous Boxed Glass Candle range, which corresponds with its selection of wax inserts. Made of soy, "responsibly harvested palm," carnauba, and paraffin, the wax refills come in scents like BlackBerry Absinthe, Coconut Milk Mango, and Hinoki Sage. All ILLUME fragrances are free of "harmful phthalates" and its products come in packaging made from recycled materials.