I’ve always bought only naturally perfumed, vegetable wax candles. After all, when candles burn, we end up inhaling their components, so why would I want to pollute my own home with paraffin candles, which are essentially petroleum, or chemical perfumes that can be comprised of any literally any chemical scents manufacturers wish to include?
What I didn’t think of, though, was how unethical some natural candle brands could be.
Many natural candle brands use 100% soya or palm wax, which although non-polluting, has a potential dark side–these products may have originated from farmland built of razed rain forests. The Amazon and the jungles of Indonesia are both being destroyed for such monoculture crops, and this is having a devastating effect on wildlife and CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.
“We use 100% soya wax, but we know our wax is is GM free, rain forest safe, and 100% chemical free. It burns clean, so the air you breathe when you burn it is clean too, keeping your environment and lungs clean,” says Jennifer McNabb, of M&J Ethical Luxury Candles.
Originally American, Jennifer teamed up with her partner Mira, from India, to form M&J in the UK. They based the scents for their candles on their multitude of global travels–after all, nothing triggers memories quite like the powerful influence of smell. A blend such as Cucumber, Mint, Strawberry & Champagne evokes boozy British summers, while Manuka Honey, Lavender and Cocoa conjures up spring fields in Provence, and Amber, Cedar and Rosewood suggests a luxury spa in India, for example. But not only are these candles sensually appealing, they’re completely ethical, too.
“We are one of the few candle brands that use 100% recycled glass to hand pour our candles into,” McNabb continues. “Each glass is hand crafted in Europe, reducing it’s carbon footprint. Once the candle has melted away, you’re left with a glass that can be washed out with warm soapy water (soy wax in uniquely water soluble) and you can upcycle this into a drinking glass! By using recycled glass we are not using any new raw materials helping to increase the demand for recycling,” she states.
And of course M&J’s packaging is locally printed, using soy ink, but there is more: “Our packing is FSC and carbon neutralised by the World Land Trust certification. We are one of very few companies to carry this certification on our packaging,” she says.
Proudly British, the company isn’t content to just produce a natural, ethical and beautiful product–they also want to give something back to the community, so for every candle sold, M&J donates a percentage of their profits to the Eaves Woman’s Charity, making M&J not only one of the cleanest, but one of the kindest, candle companies around.
Chere has always loved writing, fashion and languages, and holds degrees in Psychology and Art, and postgraduate degrees in Applied Linguistics and Education. Her long career in journalism spans several continents: she’s edited and written for prestigious magazines in Toronto, Dubai, Paris, London and Buenos Aires. Learn more about Chere’s extensive career on LinkedIn.
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