Many of us are now substituting paraffin wax candles with candles made from soy wax, thinking that this is better for the environment. Unfortunately, soy candles are, in their own way, just as devastating for the environment. Over the years, soybeans have become a wildly popular crop for farmers due to the increased use of soy in food and beauty products. By far the largest producers of soybeans in the world are Brazil, Argentina and the U.S. who produce about 80% of the world’s soy and other countries are also jumping on the bandwagon.
Most of the increase in soy production in the last decade has been in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay, where production has contributed to enormous deforestation of the rainforest. Globally, over the past two decades 300m hectares of tropical forests have been felled due to soy farming. For the sake of comparison, today the Amazon rainforest has 526ml hectares of primary forest. In Brazil alone, soy cultivation now occupies 20.5 million hectares and exports of Brazilian soy are linked to 500 sq km of deforestation yearly, according to sustainable trade company Trase. To make matters worse, deforestation for soy farming doesn’t mean just chopping down the trees. No, farmers burn down the forest to clear the roots of the land. In Brazil alone, the carbon released in this process is 1.5billion tons per year, 20% of all the Co2 emissions of the U.S. The soybean industry is causing widespread deforestation and displacement of small farmers and indigenous peoples around the globe.
Speaking of the U.S., growing soybeans domestically isn’t the solution either. Soybean crops need large amounts of acid-neutralizing lime, as well as synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. As we know, synthetic fertilizers are detrimental for the planet. They are the single largest cause of dead zones in the ocean, which are bodies of water that do not have sufficient oxygen to support most marine life. In other words, the fish and ocean flora (coral) die in a dead zone. On top of that, over 80% of all soybeans grown in the U.S. are genetically-modified (GMO) to withstand the herbicide glyphosate, better known as Roundup. Because so much Roundup is used on these crops, the residue levels in the harvested crops greatly exceed what until very recently was the allowable legal limit. The FDA had to triple the limit on residues of glyphosate that can remain on the crop. Soy farmers have used so much glyphosate that it can now be easily detected in our water supply and in the bloodstreams of most Americans. In addition, burning soy candles puts the glyphosate into the air you breathe.
We love candles, but didn’t want to compromise the health of people or the environment. We worked diligently to offer a healthy and sustainable alternative to the standard candle.
Esas candles are rooted in the Japanese tradition of candle making using Mokuro, a sumac berry wax harvested in the wild. Sumac berry wax comes from pressing the fruit of the Japanese wax tree that belongs to the sumac family of trees. This plant is indigenous to China and Japan. It grows in the wild and requires no deforestation, fertilizer or pesticides. It’s clean and so much better for our planet and for you.
Unlike anything on the market, our candles were consciously designed to scent your space using only the purest non-toxic and sustainable ingredients.
Watch this video from greenpeace.org to learn more about deforestation of the rainforest from soy farming.