Soy wax is a natural, biodegradable vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans. When we created Summerfield Candle Co we firmly decided that if we were going to create a candle goods brand we would have to make it eco-friendly. We researched and tested out the various candle waxes that are available to use and ultimately made an easy decision to use all-natural soy wax. We then went out to source a soy wax that was not blended and with no additives. We also were able to find wax manufacturers traced back to American farms! To be honest, most of the world's soybeans are produced in Midwest USA, primarily in Illinois, Iowa, and Indiana.
So why did we decide to use soy wax instead of the other types of candle wax?
Soy wax has many advantages and one of them is that soy wax is completely renewable! A natural resource that may be used indefinitely or that replenishes itself quite quickly is referred to as renewable. Corn and soybeans are both renewable resources. Resources that can be replanted repeatedly are called renewable resources. We are able to grow more when they are depleted. Non-renewable resources include things that take a long time to generate, such coal, oil, and gas. Resources that we can't simply replenish in a fair amount of time are referred to as non-renewable resources. For instance, oil is a non-renewable resource since it must form from matter underground over millions of years under ideal conditions. We cannot readily replace non-renewable resources once they are depleted. Another reason we choose soy wax is because it is free from animal byproducts, unlike other natural candles that include beeswax. Soy wax natural is able to carry essential oils well so it doesn’t require chemical amplifiers or "additives" that are used in paraffin waxes. If you have ever developed a headache from a candle burning, it was most-likely a paraffin wax candle or a candle with additives. Most candles with an overwhelming scent are artificial candles and not all-natural like ours. Be careful because some candle makers will market themselves as "soy-based" and are using a paraffin-soy wax blends. There is a big difference between an 100% soy wax and a blended wax that contains other wax types and additives.
It might be obvious but soy wax does come from soy beans. So once soy beans are farmed how does it become the soy wax that are in our candles? The soy beans are harvested and the pods of beans are first cleaned. Once they are cleaned they are cracked open and "hulled" (removing the covering from the vegetable). The leftover bean shells or "husks" are then used by the farmers as animal feed. The clean, de-hulled soy beans are then rolled and crushed into flakes and that allows the oil to be extracted. The oil is separated from the remaining parts of the bean. The oil needs distilling and refining to get rid of any impurities, this is how the oil's flavor, smell, and color can be improved. At this point the soybean oil is liquid at room temperature. This soybean oil can then go to market for cooking oils, baked goods etc. I personally love soy sauce and edamame so I am a fan of the other ways soybeans are used as well..
In order to make soybean oil a wax to be used for candles it is pumped with hydrogen (the hydrogenation process). Hydrogen is the most prevalent chemical element and is thought to make about 75% of the universe's mass. Hydrogen atoms are found in water (H20), plants, animals, and, of course, humans. The process of hydrogenation converts poly- and mono-unsaturated oils into saturated oils, hardening them to enhance the oil and allow the oil to be solid at room temperatures. The wax is now ready to go to candle makers!
Soy wax is a natural product. Soy wax is non-toxic, which means it is not harmful. Soy wax is classified as a clean-burning fuel source because it satisfies numerous criteria set out in federal laws. Before they can be marketed as wax that is safe for use in candles, waxes must pass a number of examinations and adhere to strict requirements that are supervised by the US Government.
The use of soy wax by Summerfield Candle Co. allows us to go to market with carbon neutral, sustainable, renewable, American made, and environmentally friendly goods.