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Environmentally aware of our tools

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Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby Cora » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:42 am

As a nature loving witch any damage to the earth bothers me greatly. I've recently been scrutinising the tools I use, trying to work out whether they are having an impact on the environment or not. I try to buy second hand and cleanse or make sure the things I use are environmentally sustainable, fairtrade etc. I feel its really important to use tools that are lovingly handled, otherwise what am I putting into my work?

The main harm areas I've identified are Candles and Crystals.

I've found that certain types of candle are more environmentally sound like beeswax and soy or vegetable based candles. The impact on the environment is low, but burning candles can be bad for the environment in a number of ways. The components of the candle are the primary source of environmental problems. Paraffin candles, for example, produce a number of by-products when they are combusted, including greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Paraffin is also a petroleum product, making it a non-renewable resource and adding to pollution through oil spills and other issues associated with the oil extraction process. Candles also produce soot, a particulate material which can be a lung irritant and scented or treated candles may release harmful chemical compounds when they are burned.

The wick is also an issue. Some candles are made with wicks which have additives like lead and zinc, which can release harmful gases when they are burned. While lead wicks are banned in some parts of the world, these bans are hard to enforce, and it is relatively easy to find candles with leaded wicks, unfortunately. You may also want to consider packaging; many candles, for example, are packaged in plastics which are thrown away, rather than paper or biodegradable wrapping.

I'm having trouble finding out about crystals and whether they are mined ethically or not. I won't be buying crystals for the foreseeable future but I will be making more informed choses with the candles I buy.

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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby Tasariel » Mon Sep 12, 2011 7:01 pm

Wow, I never knew that about candles! My mind was blown.
So is it the like, cheaper candles that you think are worse for the environment then?
And the more expensive types are probably better?
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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby Symandinome » Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:20 am

This was very interesting I had no idea. Thank you soo much for sharing this. As children of the Goddess we must do whatever we can to help protect the world we live in in which ever way we can. Great Job!
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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby Cora » Tue Sep 13, 2011 4:13 am

Yeah I was shocked too.

Tas its not necessarily down to expense, but the material. I looked on eBay last night and you can buy natural beeswax candles fairly cheaply - certainly not that much more expensive than paraffin ones anyway, and beeswax burns slower due to it having a higher burn temperature so they will last longer. Some beeswax candles I saw were coloured, but didn’t say how or what was used in the colouring. No point getting a beeswax candle to be harmless if the colouring is harmful. Apparently Beeswax burns more cleanly and is better suited to magick work. One site I found said ‘It is a well established fact that while burning, beeswax candles naturally emit negative ions which clean the air and invigorate the body. When paraffin candles burn, they emit black soot and smoke with various carcinogenic toxins. Beeswax is different. It burns clean, with no release of carcinogenic toxins and no soot to blacken your walls. Unlike paraffin's "burn off", beeswax reacts more like water and evaporates with the heat of the flame. This is one of the reasons why beeswax candles don't smoke and don't drip’.

Soy candles also have fewer toxins to traditional paraffin candles, and they produce minimal soot.

I’m going to try natural coloured beeswax candles in my work and if colour is called for the I will surround the candle base with items of that colour, and see how that works.

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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby Symandinome » Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:55 am

im sure there is a way to color the beeswax naturally there are many natural dyes from plants that can be used.
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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby Cora » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:15 am

I was wondering that Sym. Some of them online are naturally dyed already, its just that the ones I was interested in didn't mention if they were synthetic dyes or not. I've ordered 2 taper beeswax candles from ebay (£2.00 for 2 bargain). so I'll practice dying them :D watch this space - I bet I dye my fingers more than the candle lol
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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby Symandinome » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:48 am

i imagine that you can melt them down and redid the wicks once you color the wax
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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby ladymorgaine82 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:42 pm

Would using a candle warmer be better? I bought a Scentsy wax warmer and a bunch of wax bricks that smell divine. Would these release chemicals as well?
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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby Cora » Wed Sep 14, 2011 4:17 am

Hi Lady Morgaine, yes they will release chemicals as they burn. Unless stated the scent is likely to be synthetic. I buy scented soy wax tarts for my oil burner but to be honest the scents are likely to be synthetic too. I'm thinking of going back to the days when I had an oil burner and put a few drops of essential oil in to freshen the house up.

Don't worry though, the amounts we are talking about are minimal and in the grand scheme of things there are already far worse things we come into contact with in daily life. Personally my whole life aim is to try and tread gently on the earth and make it better for my exsitence, which got me questioning where my tools are coming from and what am I putting into my magic when i work it.

I'm going to use up the paraffin candles I have as I think wasting them would be worse than using them, but by Yule I should have run out and will start using beeswax and soy. I've found a local beekeeper who sells sheets of beeswax, so I'm going to use those and create my own. I'm also going to attempt to make my own orange essential oil which apparently is pretty easy to do and a good beginner oil to collect as you purely scrape the skin with a spoon.
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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby JBRaven » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:26 am

As a Vegan I can not condone the use of beeswax. Because another of another species is not killed in the gathering of their useful materials is not reason enough to justify our taking the product of their labors without consent. Within our own species it is known as theft, for a bee, we are wrecking their homes and taking something they've worked a lot to get and are willing to sacrifice their individual lives to protect. I use soy candles and would highly suggest if you haven't used these harm-free candles that you give them a try.
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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby Tasariel » Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:18 pm

Is there a good online source for inexpensive soy candles that you could suggest?
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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby tree_hugger » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:01 pm

good to know ! I actually just heard about paraffin from a friend just yesterday.
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Re: Environmentally aware of our tools

Postby FlyingPeregrine » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:07 am

Great information. My local store will answer almost any question that I have, so I might ask if the candles are safe for the environment. She's pretty big on that, so I wouldn't assume she'd get candles from any vendor besides ethical ones.

As for the stones, I know many are from right here in Maine. We have an abundance of stones that come from mines in the area and Maine is all about conservation, so I can trust those come from safe places. She does get stones from other places, though. My pendulum is made of Vesuvianite- found on Mt. Vesuvius originally, but also a Maine native stone. Most mica, tourmaline, quartz, morganite, lepidolite, topaz, garnet, and sodalite are from Maine, so I don't think you have to worry on those particular stones. They're exported to a lot of places from here. Other sources of gemstones are Arkansas, Arizona, Montana, and Nevada. I believe Nevada has strict mining and conservation, as well, but don't take my word for it. Arizona definitely is strong in conservation- they have a conservation corps- and would be another great source to get gemstones from.
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