With recycling being such a hot topic these past few years, it is no surprise that we're seeing countless projects and initiatives set up to help us limit our landfill waste. One recent project that focuses on the recycling and reuse of candle wax is the Recycled Candle Company. I had the pleasure of talking to the company manager about this interesting niche market.
How did the recycled candle co get started?
The Recycled Candle Company officially started in November 2015, when we launched a range of Glass candles at the Country Living Christmas Fair in London. I have been making candles ever since I was 8. Growing up in Devon it was one of those rainy day things that mum would find for me and my two brothers to do. We would make jams, soaps, chutney and candles. It was candles that really stuck for me.
In my teen years I really got into recycling. I grew up in an area of Devon that is protected as an area of “Outstanding Natural Beauty”, so looking after the earth has always been very close to my heart. I used to collect scrap of candles from around the house and the local church, where mum did the flowers and take them home to melt them down and turn them into new candles. This method worked for the basics, though the wax was very dirty and the finished product was really mucky, not very sellable, but perfect for around the house. I spent years thinking about how I could filter the wax in the best way possible to be able to use scrap wax that was destined for the bin, but make it into a usable product.
In my 20’s I had sussed it out and started to collect from small hotels and restaurants. Candle making was very much a hobby that I did when I wasn’t working as an actor (or a waiter), but when I met my boyfriend Sargon in 2014, he helped me turn it into something really special. He has a background in design, so was able to help me turn the company into what it is today. I started working part time and poured all of my time and energy into making candles and collecting as much wax as possible.
How has the business expanded since the beginning?
The Company has grown and grown constantly, we started by selling candles at local craft markets and fates. We now have a busy website shop and a calendar of events throughout the year!
What products are you currently working on?
We are always working on a few things; we constantly want to better ourselves and make sure the candles we are selling are the best quality they can be. One project I am interested in is finding a way in which we can offer a diffuser as a product. The only reason we have not yet done a diffuser is because I need there to be a really strong recycled element behind the product. Obviously with our 100% recycled wax candles we stop a huge amount of usable material making its way into our landfill, and I need to carry that ethos through every product we make and sell, so for the time being, we are really enjoying thinking of ways to reduce landfill and turn discarded material into a product. Watch this space!
Which scent in your range is most popular and which do you like best?
The most popular fragrance for 2016 was one of our newer ones; Bitter Orange and Ylang. We were so happy with its success as we pick all of our fragrances ourselves and we were sure that people would love that one as much as we did! My personal favourite has to be the festive Winter Spice, although its not appropriate all year round I think it is the most beautifully subtle balance of all things Christmassy without feeling overwhelmed!
Who donates candles to be recycled? Do you have partnerships with any large companies?
We get wax from absolutely everyone and anyone. Our main wax comes from hotels, restaurants, churches and cathedrals in London and Devon where we are based, but we also receive a lot of wax by post! People all over the UK are so passionate about finding an alternative to landfill that they will collect up their odds and ends of scrap wax and send them to our studio in Devon!
We have several partnerships with hotel chains in London and have been blown away by the passion and effort that staff members will go to to help reduce the amount of recyclable material that is so easily thrown away without a second thought.
Where can we buy your products? Are there regular events you attend?
Our products are always on sale on our website, but one thing we really encourage is to have a look at our Stockists page. We really want to encourage people to go out and see our candles in person and speak with the wonderful shop owners up and down the country that stock our candles. For this reason we have added every shop that we supply candles to onto our website so people can see if there is a shop nearby that they can support.
We also have a calendar page on our website that goes live in the autumn months to showcase where we will be exhibiting candles ourselves and any new products we have.
What are your hopes for the future of the Recycled Candle Co?
I hope the Recycled Candle Company continues to grow and reach as many people as possible, just to inform them that candle wax can be recycled. I hope that we will be able to offer nationwide collections for scrap wax and really make an impact with regards to reducing the amount that goes to landfill. The bigger we get, the more wax we can recycle, and that is my main aim for the future; More Recycling!
If you could see your candles stocked anywhere or being used in any major restaurant where would it be?
One day, I hope that I will be able to say that a 100% recycled wax candle from The Recycled Candle Company is burning in Buckingham palace! (or any one of the palaces), Ha!
But until then, we have had such an amazing response from shops up and down the country. Shop owners have loved what we do and not only chosen to stock our products but also to pass on our story and share our passion for recycling with their customers and communities. I hope our stockists’ list continues to grow with lovely independent shops and establishments with a great green ethos behind them!