From Trash to Treasure: Unleashing the Power of Candle Recycling

July 1, 2022 in environment, recycling

Article summary and Key takeaways: This article explores the recyclability of candles and provides options for recycling or repurposing them. It explains the composition of candles, including the wax, wick, and container, and discusses the different recycling options for each component. The article suggests finding local candle recycling centers or using DIY methods at home to recycle candles. It also provides steps for properly disposing of candle jars and highlights the option of donating used candles to organizations. Additionally, the article offers creative ways to repurpose unwanted candles, such as making new candles or using the wax for other crafts or household purposes. It emphasizes the importance of researching local resources for candle recycling and provides answers to frequently asked questions. Overall, the article encourages individuals to take steps towards reducing waste and protecting the environment through responsible candle disposal.

Around the world, there is a growing awareness of the importance of recycling and reducing waste. As individuals, we are becoming more conscious of the impact our daily choices have on the environment. From buying products with less packaging to using reusable shopping bags, we are constantly searching for ways to minimize our carbon footprint. However, there are still some items that leave us perplexed when it comes to recycling, such as candles. Can you recycle candles? Let’s dive into this topic and explore the possibilities.

Understanding Candle Composition

Before discussing the recyclability of candles, it is important to understand their composition. A candle is typically made up of three main components: the wax, the wick, and the container. Each of these components plays a different role and may have different recycling options.

  • Wax: The wax is the main ingredient in a candle. It can be made from various materials, including paraffin wax, soy wax, beeswax, or even vegetable-based waxes. The recyclability of the wax can vary depending on its composition.
  • Wick: The wick is the part of the candle that is lit and burns. It is typically made of cotton or a cotton blend. While the wick itself is not recyclable, it is important to properly dispose of it to prevent any potential fire hazards.
  • Container: Many candles are sold in containers, such as glass jars or metal tins. These containers can often be reused or recycled separately from the candle itself.

Candle Recycling Options

If you’re wondering whether you can recycle your candles, the good news is that there are options available. Depending on your location and the materials used in your candles, you may be able to recycle them through dedicated candle recycling centers or through do-it-yourself (DIY) methods at home.

Candle Recycling Centers and Facilities

One option for recycling candles is to find a local candle recycling center or facility. These centers are specifically designed to collect and recycle candles, ensuring that the materials are properly processed and reused. Recycling centers can accept a wide range of candle types, including ones made from paraffin wax, soy wax, or beeswax.

Finding local recycling centers that accept candles can sometimes be a challenge. It is important to do some research to identify recycling centers near you that specialize in candle recycling. This can be done by searching online directories or contacting local waste management authorities to inquire about candle recycling options in your area.

DIY Methods for Recycling Candles at Home

If you are unable to find a local candle recycling center, or if you prefer to take matters into your own hands, there are several DIY methods for recycling candles at home. These methods allow you to repurpose the different components of the candle, reducing waste and giving new life to old candles.

Repurposing Candle Wax

One way to recycle candle wax is by repurposing it into new candles. By melting down the old candle wax and pouring it into new candle molds or containers, you can create brand new candles. This not only reduces waste but also allows you to customize the fragrance and design of your candles.

Before repurposing the wax, it is important to remove any debris or burned wick remnants. This can be done by straining the melted wax through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to ensure a clean and smooth final product. Additionally, be cautious when melting candle wax, as it can be flammable. Always follow safety guidelines and use appropriate equipment.

Reusing Candle Containers

Another way to recycle candles at home is by reusing the containers. Many candles are sold in beautiful glass jars or metal tins that can be repurposed for storage or decoration. After the wax has been removed (which we will discuss in more detail later), the containers can be washed and reused for various purposes, such as holding small items, organizing craft supplies, or even serving as plant pots.

Proper Disposal of Candle Jars

When recycling candles, it is important to properly dispose of the candle jars or containers. While the wax may be the main component of the candle, the containers should not be overlooked. Glass jars and metal tins can often be recycled separately from other household waste.

Steps for Removing Wax from Candle Jars

To ensure proper recycling of candle containers, it is crucial to remove any remaining wax. Here are some steps you can follow to effectively remove wax from candle jars:

  1. Place the candle jar in the freezer for a few hours. The cold temperature will cause the wax to shrink and become easier to remove.
  2. Once the wax is frozen, use a butter knife or similar tool to gently pry the wax away from the sides of the jar. It should pop out easily.
  3. For any remaining wax residue, fill the jar with boiling water. The hot water will melt the remaining wax, allowing it to float to the top.
  4. Allow the water to cool down, then scoop out the wax residue and dispose of it appropriately (either by repurposing it or throwing it away, depending on the wax type).
  5. Finally, wash the jar with warm, soapy water to remove any remaining residue.

Recycling Glass Jars Separately

Once the wax has been removed, glass candle jars can typically be recycled with other glass items. Check with your local recycling guidelines to ensure proper disposal. It is important to note that not all glass recycling facilities accept candle jars due to their shape or the presence of metal lids. Therefore, it is always recommended to check with your local recycling center or waste management authorities to confirm the specific requirements in your area.

Donating Used Candles

If you have candles that are still in good condition but are no longer wanted, one option is to donate them to organizations or charities that accept used candles. These organizations may repurpose the candles for events, use them for fundraising, or distribute them to those in need.

When donating used candles, it is important to ensure that they are clean and free from any debris or wax residue. If possible, contact the organization beforehand to confirm their acceptance of candles and any specific guidelines for donation.

Donating candles not only prevents them from ending up in landfills but also allows them to continue providing warmth and comfort to others.

Creative Ways to Repurpose Unwanted Candles

If you have candles that are no longer suitable for burning or donating, there are still creative ways to repurpose them and give them a new life.

Making New Candles from Old Ones

One popular way to repurpose unwanted candles is by making new candles from old ones. This can be done by melting down the wax, adding new fragrance or color if desired, and pouring it into new containers or molds. By mixing different candle remnants, you can create unique and personalized candles.

Not only does this help reduce waste, but it also allows you to unleash your creativity and experiment with different candle designs. You can mix scents, create layers, or even add decorative elements like dried flowers or herbs.

Using Candle Wax for Other Crafts or Household Purposes

Aside from making new candles, candle wax can be used for various other crafts or household purposes. Here are some ideas:

  • Homemade wax sachets: Melt the wax and pour it into small fabric pouches. Add essential oils or dried herbs for a personalized scent.
  • Sealing envelopes: Dip the edge of an envelope in melted wax to create a unique seal.
  • Lubricating squeaky hinges: Rub small amounts of wax on squeaky door hinges or drawer slides to eliminate noise.
  • Waterproofing shoes: Apply melted wax to fabric or leather shoes to make them more resistant to water.
  • Craft projects: Use melted wax for various crafts, such as making wax seals, creating encaustic art, or making homemade crayons.

Local Resources for Candle Recycling

If you are interested in recycling your candles but are unsure where to start, there are several resources available to help you locate local recycling facilities or authorities. Here are a few steps you can take:

Researching Local Recycling Facilities or Authorities

Start by researching recycling facilities or authorities in your area. Many municipalities have dedicated websites or hotlines that provide information on recycling options, including specific guidance on candle recycling. These resources can help you identify local centers or programs that accept candles for recycling.

Contacting Local Businesses that Accept Used Candles

In addition to recycling centers, some local businesses may accept used candles for recycling or repurposing. This can include candle stores, craft stores, or eco-friendly businesses. Contact these establishments to inquire about their candle recycling policies and see if they accept donations or offer recycling services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do old candles go in recycling?

The recyclability of old candles depends on the materials used. For example, candles made from paraffin wax, soy wax, or beeswax can often be recycled. However, it is important to remove any non-recyclable components, such as the wick or decorations, before recycling. Always check with your local recycling guidelines or facilities for specific instructions.

What to do with old candles?

If your old candles are still in usable condition, consider donating them to organizations or charities. If they are no longer suitable for burning or donation, you can repurpose them into new candles or find alternative uses for the wax, such as making wax sachets or sealing envelopes.

What to do with candles you don’t want?

If you no longer want your candles, there are several options available. You can recycle them through dedicated candle recycling centers, repurpose them into new candles or crafts, or donate them to organizations that accept used candles. Avoid throwing them in the regular trash, as this contributes to unnecessary waste.

How do you remove wax from candles to recycle?

To remove wax from candles for recycling, follow these steps:

  1. Place the candle jar in the freezer to freeze the wax.
  2. Use a butter knife or similar tool to gently pry the frozen wax away from the sides of the jar.
  3. Fill the jar with boiling water to melt any remaining wax residue.
  4. Scoop out the melted wax, then wash the jar with warm, soapy water to remove any residual wax.


Recycling and reducing waste are essential practices in our journey towards a more sustainable future. When it comes to candles, there are various options available to recycle or repurpose them, depending on their composition and your location. By understanding the components of candles, finding local recycling centers, and exploring DIY methods, we can minimize waste and give new life to old candles. Whether it’s making new candles, donating to organizations, or repurposing the wax, every effort counts in our collective mission to protect the environment.

Question 1:
Answer: No, old candles do not go in recycling.

Question 2:
Answer: You can repurpose old candles by melting the wax and making new candles or using the wax for other crafts.

Question 3:
Answer: If you don’t want candles, you can donate them, give them to someone who might want them, or dispose of them in the regular trash.

Question 4:
Answer: To remove wax from candles for recycling, you can freeze the candle and then chip away the wax, or use hot water to melt the wax and pour it out.


About the author 

Jason Farland