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What’s the real environmental impact of a candle?

It’s a question we ask ourselves all the time. As a socially responsible business, we also have a responsibility to our planet. We strive to minimize our environmental impact in every way possible!

Prosperity Candle's ingredients

Soy versus paraffin

At first glance, soy wax or beeswax seem like the obvious raw materials to use when thinking about environmental sustainability. Surprisingly, this is not always the case!

After much research, we have concluded that our custom paraffin-soy blend is the most sustainable choice we can make today. Paraffin is a material that is available regionally in large quantity, so using it means a much lower carbon footprint than with other waxes that must be shipped in.

Paraffin is also a by-product, which if not used would go into the waste stream. We’ve found that most soy wax is sourced from agribusiness, where large amounts of petrochemicals are used in carbon-intensive cultivation methods. Paraffin can actually be a more sustainable option than soy when you compare total environment impacts.

Healthwise, food-quality paraffin burns as cleanly as other high quality waxes. At Prosperity Candle, we use only the highest grade candle waxes with natural cotton wicks (no lead or zinc) for a long-lasting, clean burning candle.

Smoke & soot

It’s an unavoidable fact: all waxes emit some soot. If made and burned correctly (yup, trimming your wick actually matters!), a flame should not emit smoke. And here’s the good news: waxes burn cleanly if they are high quality, highly refined, and the production of the candle is technically correct.

Our candles and fragrances meet the strict California Proposition 65 for indoor air quality, and contain none of the performance enhancers that low-grade, very fragrant candles use.

Production standards

When looking at how ‘green’ a candle is, you have to also consider the environment in which it is made and the candle container.  We are proud to be a certified B-Corp for our environmental and social sustainability practices.  We make our candles in a clean, healthy environment for both our candle artisans and the candles themselves.

In selecting our vessels, we always aim for recycled, recyclable, repurposed and fair trade.  We hate the idea of a candle vessel being thrown out when done, which is why we have a section of our site dedicated to reuse and repurposing, which is many times better than simply recycling.

Moo Kho centering a wick in our production studio

Sustainable business values

Our team consists of locavores in both spirit and practice. We eat produce from New England farms shares, buy local dairy products, and support artisans in our neighborhoods. But we also recognize that not everything we use can be made locally – and that there are people living in distant places who can greatly benefit from trade.

While working to improve the lives of women in places of conflict and disaster, we strive to minimize our carbon footprint wherever possible. We consolidate shipments, select routes with the smallest carbon footprint (we are a strong advocate of ships using wind power to reduce fuel use), minimize packaging and waste, recycle & reuse everything we can, and regularly purchase carbon offsets.

We are committed to tracking and continually reducing Prosperity Candle’s carbon footprint over time.

Have a question about our environmental impact? Get in touch via Twitter or Facebook!

GOOD

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Empower Women

Women Working
Empower women. It’s a powerful statement, a two word sentence that says so much more than the sum of its letters. And it’s what we’re about. What we believe in. Empower women.

Empower women. The women we work with here at Prosperity Candle. They’re new to the United States, refugees from Burma, and in need of support. Not charity, but sustainable economic opportunity. They’re raising families, learning English, acclimating to a new climate and a completely new way of life. For them, empowerment starts small: living wage work in a supportive environment, where time off is readily available, sick kids are welcomed in (one great thing about having a nap-ready couch in our studio!), and candles are made by their hands, designed to share their light with the world.

Empower women. The women our nonprofit sister organization, Prosperity Catalyst, works with in Haiti. They’re moms, they’re daughters, and through their work they’ve become friends. While their budding business is still small, selling locally in the markets of Cap Haitian, their spirit is huge. Each woman pools a portion of the income she makes into a savings fund, and the women regularly distribute that pool to one of its members. This extra piece of income has allowed for small, previously unavailable luxuries like a new haircut or outfit. It’s also allowed for children’s schooling to be paid for upfront. Investing not only in the women entrepreneurs, but in the next generation of women as well.

Empower women. And empower future women . . . empower girls. Show her Wonder Woman. Show her writers, and businesswomen, and teachers, and doctors. The world will show her princesses. Show her Malala Yousafzai, show her Half the Sky, show her the world beyond the tiny boxes, the gender roles she’ll be pushed into. Show her how to consume media messages with a cautious and critical eye. Empower her, show her the world of possibilities that lies ahead of her, and you’ve made a mighty investment into a brighter future for us all.

Adding an Artisan Touch to Perfect Interiors

I’ve been spending an exuberant amount of time on Pinterest admiring all of the beautiful interior design photos lately. So, I thought I’d make use of all that time by pairing some of our candles with my favorite rooms. While putting these pictures together, I realized that our candles fit pretty much any style!

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Our Splash Recycled Glass Candle matches the colors of this adventurous & purple dining area perfectly.

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The Silver Surprise Wave Bowl candle pairs nicely with this modern yet earthy living room.

 

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Our Peaceful LIght Recycled Glass Candle is a simple , but elegant addition to this classic chic kitchen.

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Our classic Prosperity Pillar was practically made to fit with this bedroom set and it’s rich purple tones.

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These repurposed Dry Soda Bottle candles add a fun & quirky touch to this beautiful outdoor dining area.

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These hand-painted Red Blossom Bowls are a fun addition to this colorful and fun living room.

Women we Love: Amy Poehler

Her character Leslie Knope teaches us that the three most important things in life are:

Friends

Waffles

Work

But off the screen, Amy Poehler has proven to be a strong and inspiring role model. Here are the top 10 reasons why we love Amy:  Continue reading

Designed to do Good: Lallitara

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I’m really picky when it comes to buying purses. This is mostly because I have awkwardly shaped shoulders and so I need to wear crossbody bags, or they’ll just slip right off of my arm. I know, it’s a weird problem to have. Anyway, back to the point of this blog post… I stumbled upon Lallitara’s Elephant XL Wristlet and fell in love with all of the beautiful designs and colors. Not only are they perfect for casual and formal outings, they share our “designed to do good” mission.

Bijal Shah, a graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and M.I.T. decided to pack her bags and travel to India, where she worked to help impoverished communities access electricity. Shah joined a sewing class as a way for her to make a connection with the women that she worked with. This is where Shah began sewing saris into dresses and where the Lallitara story began.

Lallitara creates stylish and colorful clothing and accessories from secondhand saris from India. Over the years, India’s economy has improved, however that means that collecting used saris has become increasingly difficult because people are leaning towards buying new rather than used goods.

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Why are the materials important?

“Every year, 13.1 million tons of textile waste is going to landfills in the U.S.A. alone. Just try and begin to imagine how much that means around the world! The textile industry is also one of the top contributors to global green house gasses and waste water. By reusing these fabrics, we are not only saving them from landfills, but we’re also limiting the environmental harm caused in their creation.”

- Bijal Shah

17-20% of industrial water pollution is caused by the chemicals and dyes used by the textile industry. These chemicals that make their way into local waterways can cause serious environmental and health hazards to communities. Textile waste makes up about 6% of every landfill, but 95% of this waste is recyclable!

Giving Back

5-10% of Lallitara’s sales go towards supporting organizations like SAATH–a non-governmental group that works towards improving the quality of life in poor regions of India.  All of their products are made in sweatshop-free facilities, located in New York City, Fall River, Ma, and Lawrence MA.

Products you should check out…

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Elephant XL | Emerald 

 

 

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The Felix Bow Tie

 

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Striped Fern

 

15 DIY Mother’s Day Gifts

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Every Mother’s Day I try to get something nice for my Mom, and every year she yells at me, “Don’t spend your money!” So here’s a secret that you probably already know… Mother’s love handmade gifts. But since you’re probably too old to be making macaroni art, we’ve put together a handful of DIY projects (like this cute Flower Pot Necklace) that Mom will love.

Continue reading

What Does “Sustainability” Even Mean?

The word “sustainability” is thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Most people attach the word to a certain type of earthy-crunchy lifestyle that makes it seem unappealing or even unattainable.

Luckily, sustainability doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to alter your entire routine, it just means that working towards more socially conscious decisions.

When I say socially conscious decisions, I don’t mean that you have to decide to give up your apartment and move into co-housing and maybe raise your own chickens—but if that’s what you’re into, I fully support you!

For me, making socially conscious decisions means being consistently aware of how our actions affect the community. Sustainability is really about improving our daily lives. It is about cutting our dependency on outside resources and supporting ourselves in a local level. Thinking globally and acting locally.

Sustainability requires self-reflection and it probably means giving up minor conveniences…

  • Using reusable bags instead of plastic. This means you need to stop leaving them in the car or at home like I do — intention is the first step, but then you’ve gotta work to make it a habit!
  • Buy a water bottle, instead of buying bottled water every day. This is both good for your wallet and the environment. You can even use a mason jar and lid if you don’t want to spend the money.
  •  Buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season! I can’t stress this one enough. Buying in season is better for your body, your wallet, and the environment. It has more nutrients, it costs less, and it reduces the amount of energy we use to transport it long distances. Buying locally also puts money back directly back into your community, so look for local produce at the supermarket and check out your local farmers market.
  • Consider what you need and what you don’t need. Try to cut back on that impulse spending! When you are adding items to your home or wardrobe, look to buy things of quality, that will last and not end up in a landfill in a few years.

Becoming entirely self-sufficient may seem impossible, but that doesn’t mean you should give up on the idea! Small changes can make a huge difference!

Not that I’m trying to be a product pusher (wink wink), but here at Prosperity Candle, we work to create candles with a sustainable impact. All of our candle vessels can be reused or recycled, and our Eco Living Collection consists of candles made from recycled and repurposed glass, and even real soda bottles and coffee tins!

5 Sustainable Purchases that Will Make a Difference in Your Everyday Life

As you are probably aware Earth Day is April 22, and while one of our values is to create a sustainable impact in the world, this month is a reminder that there are always something more we can do to build a brighter future.

I like to tell myself that my carbon footprint is fairly small, but I’m sure my roommates would disagree–yes, I know I take forever in the shower. But hot water aside, I swear I recycle! Ok, but maybe I’m not entirely sure where the milk cartons go (the answer is here, if you’re wondering). And maybe I purchase too many plastic water bottles, and maybe, they’re collecting in the backseat of my car.

I admit, there are definitely changes I should be making, so I did a little research and found some great sustainable products that will hopefully make the world a little safer from people like me.

Furoshiki ECOlunchwrap

Furoshiki_ECOlunchwrap_Tree__45027.1392234097.400.400(Pronounced f-ROHSH-kee) If you happen to be one of those people who makes their own lunch and brings it to work (good for you!), consider one of these eco lunch wraps. They are machine washable, reversible, and easy to tie. They are also incredibly colorful and come in a variety of patterns. A great alternative to using plastic lunch boxes or paper bags.

 

Oggi Bamboo Compost Pail

ogh14004-2I used to live in a house with five roommates and we tried to compost, but it turned into a nightmare. Instead of trying to find a solution, we gave up. Our problems would have easily been solved if we bought a compost pail. These can be placed directly on the kitchen counter or under the sink, and when it’s full you can either move it to your outdoor compost bin. If you live in an apartment and don’t have a garden, there are most likely composting facilities near you: FindAComposter can help!

Non-Toxic Cleaner

mrs_meyers_clean_day_4Having a clean home is important, but the chemicals in most cleaning products are not necessarily safe for you or the environment. Luckily, there are so many safe, eco-friendly options when it comes to cleaning supplies that are easily attainable at most stores.
Here are some products you might consider buying on your next shopping trip:
Simple Green, Green Works, Meyer’s, And there are many DIY options too!

Buy a Water Bottle!

Hydros Water Bottle 3I keep telling myself this! Stop buying plastic water bottles. If you’re super picky about the water you drink, I would suggest buying one of those fancy water bottles that come with a filter. Hydros is a good example. They are made right in New Jersey, they are BPA free, dishwasher safe, and they filter quickly. Hydros works with Engineers Without Borders to help fight the global water crisis; currently they are working on bringing clean drinking water to the villagers of Gundom, Cameroon!

Journals & Notebooks

floralfantasyjournals_grandeI use a lot of paper, despite the fact that I use my laptop for mostly everything. Believe it or not, I take a lot of notes in my classes… by hand! It’s crazy, I know. I found these beautiful floral notebooks that are by Eco-Friendly Papers. Wasim and his family in India have been in the paper industry for over 80 years; they make the paper out of recycled cotton rags and without machinery. Because they are handmade, it feels as if every page is important… which means I probably shouldn’t doodle all over them.

Hopefully I’ve encouraged some of you to look for more sustainable purchases! They are worth the investment, not only to save you money in the long-run, but to save the earth as well (yes, that was a little tacky).

Speaking of sustainable, we have many candles in our Eco-Living Collection, made from recycled and repurposed materials!

Hidden Heroines of Women’s History Month

Marie Lyn Bernard

Who She Is: She goes by the name Riese, and she is the co-founder and CEO of the popular website Autostraddle, a website made for and by queer women. Riese is also a freelance journalist, whose work has been featured in 9 books, and you can also find her on her personal blog, This Girl Called Automatic Win. (http://marielynbernard.blogspot.com/)
Why She’s a Heroine: Autostraddle has become an amazing resource for the feminist and queer community. They publish daily news articles, opinions, they throw meetups, and host fundraisers. Riese also created A-Camp (http://a-camp.org/), which is a week long summer camp for all ages. At A-Camp you can expect to attend seminars, learn “nerdcraft”, maybe attend “Swagger 101”, make zines, laugh at improv, and most importantly meet other members of the queer community.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Who She Is: Adichie is a 36-year old Nigerian novelist, who recently won the National Book Critics Award for her book Americanah.
Why She’s a Heroine: Adichie is Beyoncé approved. And by that I mean she quoted Adichie Ted Talk in her song “Flawless”, bringing academic discussions of feminism to a pop music audience. Pretty cool, huh? Her novels touch on issues of race, gender, immigration, and she stresses the importance and need for cultural voices. She’s showing young women that feminism is important and is accessible to everyone.

Tavi Gevinson

Who She Is: Tavi started blogging at age 12 with her blog Style Rookie, and from there founded and became editor-in-chief of the online Rookie Magazine. Rookie is primarily directed toward a teenage audience, and discusses issues of feminism, racism, and sexuality, as well as pop culture.
Why She’s a Heroine: Tavi is incredibly inspirational for young women because she encourages them speak their mind and proves that their dreams are accessible.

Jessica Bennett

Who She Is: Bennett was the executive editor of Tumblr, the former senior editor at Newsweek and currently works for Lean In, an organization that is committed to inspiring women and helping them achieve their goals. She writes stories on women, culture, social issues, and trends and has been honored by GLAAD, Society for Professional Journalists, and many other groups.
Why She’s a Heroine: Most recently Bennett worked with Getty to create a collection of “Feminist Stock Photos” in response the stereotypes of women portrayed in many stock photos—See “Women Laughing Alone with Salad”.

Dessa

Who She Is: : Dessa (born Margret Wander) is a female rapper and spoken-word poet from Minneapolis. She is the only female on Doomtree, a hip-hop collective that consists of primarily white members.
Why She’s a Heroine: She is a successful female rapper, which is a group (demographic?) that doesn’t get much recognition. Her lyrics address societal issues such as domestic violence, but she also raps about love and the importance of family and friends.