Green movement weighs on candle industry

27 June 2008 18:33  [Source: ICIS news]

Candle makers mull green movementGUANACASTE, Costa Rica (ICIS news)--The green movement has reached unexpectedly high levels of interest in all industries, turning it into a mandatory subject for new market trends in the candle business, an industry executive said on Friday.

Speaking at the eleventh annual Latin American Candle Manufacturers Conference (Alafave) in Guanacaste, Marcela Olalde Portugal (de Castillo), vice president of International Fragrances, said in Spanish that “super/true green” consumers have tripled over the last 16 months.

“Estimates are that 40% of consumers are looking for green products now,” Castillo said. “The trend is clear that respondents are moving to the green end of the consumption spectrum and the candle makers must take note.”

Castillo said the easiest way candle makers can become involved in the green movement is to alter packaging.

“Making packaging healthy for the environment is not a new concept,” she said. “Green packaging is sourced, manufactured, transported and recycled using renewable energy.”

Many candle makers have begun to explore alternatives to raw material paraffin wax (p-wax), which is refined from crude oil.

“Soy, palm and beeswax are all natural resources and biodegradable,” Castillo said.

And at this time, the plant and animal based waxes are much cheaper than crude based p-wax, a trader said.

Candle makers have voiced concern over the last year, however, about changing fragrance and wick formulations to suit the bio-based waxes.

International Fragrances recently put a palm essence and soy essence line of fragrances on the market. Both products are liquid fragrances which adapt to the technical limitations associated with the production of soy based and palm based candles.

While there are many green options for the candle business, fragrances have no organic specifications at this time, Castillo said. “It is speculated that fragrances would follow flavour guidelines but it would take about three to five years.”

The fragrance industry does use natural materials which originate from plants and animals, she added. “But not all natural products produce economically, viable essential oils.”

Also many natural fragrances contain allergens or even carcinogenic compounds such as tarragon oil, she said.

“And the use of some natural materials like sandalwood or musk can lead to species endangerment and illegal trafficking.”

She added that many of the most popular fragrances these days such as “sugar cookie” or “clean linen” can not be derived from natural materials.

“As manufacturers, we must take advantage of what is available and create the best products we are able to,” Castillo said.

Bookmark Doris de Guzman’s Green Chemicals Blog for some independent thinking on green chemicals
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By: Heather McGuire Doyle
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