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What about Palm Wax?

Thursday, August 18, 2011 | By Pat Cattermole

Until the end of 2009 Honey Candles® produced palm wax candles branded as Atmosfera Tropico.  We liked the beautiful crystalline appearance, the fact that it was free of petroleum products and that it wasn’t genetically modified as is some soy wax. It also required less agricultural land than soy.  Somewhere in 2006 a cloud of doubt started to creep in as we began to receive a number of questions about palm wax from environmentally aware customers. They were especially concerned about deforestation in Southern Asia and wildlife displacement, particularly orangutans.

We did talk to our suppliers and we were assured that our palm oil came from Malaysia where the Malaysian Palm Oil Council closely regulated the production.  The supplier actually questioned as to whether the growing alarm was a conspiracy by the other well- known vegetable wax industry to discredit palm oil. We were given a great deal of information about its merits. Palm wax has its pros. On a hectare of land 3200 kg of palm oil can be produced as compared to 351 kg of soy oil. It has also been seen as a means to eradicate poverty in countries where poverty is rampant by creating meaningful employment. We continued for a couple more years making palm wax candles.

Personally I like natural beeswax candles better than palm wax. Beeswax candles have a larger golden flame. The flame of a palm wax candle is often weak and small similar to a soy wax candle.  That helped us make our decision as the cloud over palm wax got bigger. Because of palm oil’s connection to deforestation and wildlife habitat loss we decided to discontinue production of palm wax candles. Our 2010 catalog was without Atmosfera Tropico palm wax candles. All things considered the time had come to abandon it. 

The Economist has an extensive, interesting article dated June 24 2010 about the concern with palm oil and how it is affecting the industry called The campaign against Palm Oil The other Oil Spill. If you are buying or considering buying palm wax candles I think it is a worthwhile read.  There are other companies besides ours not comfortable with selling palm wax to you either.  You might like to read what Candlescience had to say to their customers. They supplied palm wax at one time.

When we decided to drop palm wax candles we did have some disappointed customers. The palm wax candles we had were our only scented candles at the time. Since then we have done significant research and development to produce scented pure natural beeswax candles.  We scent our Honey Candles® Essentials pure beeswax Votives and Tins with 100% essential oils. They are made with the same love and care as all our Honey Candles® beeswax candles. Customers have switched and after two years I haven’t had anyone question our decision.  They are delighted with pure beeswax Honey Candles® Essentials.  If you like natural candles scented with essential oils or just like the idea try our Honey Candles® Essentials.

What's your feeling about palm wax? Do you think we made the right decision to drop it?

Pat Cattermole picture Published by Pat Cattermole - I had the good fortune to be hired at Honey Candles in the fall of 2004. Experience managing a small rural printing business and 15 years as an elected public school trustee has been a benefit as Honey Candles moves through the need for flexibility and the demands of rapidly changing natural products marketing. I am the Sales Manager and most likely to be the one answering the phone when you call. Social Media and blogging for Honey Candles has been a recent addition to my list of skills.

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