Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 143 of our Green Year: Green Candles

On occasion, it is nice to have some candles burning. It may be a romantic dinner, or an evening alone with your spouse, or it could be that the power is out (although in that case we use our wind up flashlight), but no matter the situation, you may actually be doing yourself and the environment harm. The reason for this is that candles use paraffin wax, which contains alkane hydrocarbons that contain carcinogens (cancer-causing) including Acetaldehyde, Acrolein, Benzene, Formaldehyde, Polychlorodibenzo-p-dioxins, Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons and Toulin. Using these candles then not only put harmful chemicals in the air around you, but also contribute to industries whose processes are destructive to the environment and our air.

While the United States and some other countries banned lead core wicks in 2003, there are still some households that still have those old candles, which emit lead levels of 3,000 micrograms per hour, seven times the rate that is considered to be unsafe. If you use synthetic candles, then you are going to be breathing in even more chemicals from industries that contribute to dangerous emissions.

As a result, we are going to go green with earth-friendly candles. Primarily, we will be using beeswax and soy candles that use natural oils instead of synthetic chemicals. As well, we will make sure that the wick on the candle is made from recycled cotton, hemp or paper fiber.

It is important to learn about things like this because those romantic nights over a beautiful dinner could actually be killing you.

Also, today I read a story on that detailed a new way of thinking for homeowners. Many people are now buying entire homes for 30 to 40K that are between 50 square feet and 500 square feet. Looking at pictures of the homes, they actually look quite nice and one woman said her heating bill each month is a whopping $8. You can see these homes here. One of the most well-known companies making these types of home is Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. These homes are actually quite cute, and when you go green, you can't go much more green than a tiny house!

UPDATE: Reducing our possessions continues to go strong. We have lowered our possessions by about 10 to 20 percent we figure so far. Next week we are taking a large portion of our possessions to Goodwill and People Loving People. We will also be calling some charities to see if they want some items here, including some of our furniture.