Zero Waste Hacks: DIY Candles

April 27, 2020BY Potato Head
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At Ijen, we turn leftover cooking oil into zero-waste candles – and you can, too. Save your used cooking oil and create natural light at home.



Used cooking oil isn’t great for the environment, but it needn’t go to waste. This process, which we developed for our zero-waste restaurant Ijen, transforms leftover oil into eco-friendly candles. They’re easy enough to make at home – you just need some beeswax, a piece of string and a jar or bowl for the mix to set in..

If you want to up your game and create a scented candle, just add a few drops of your favourite essential oils (we like lavender, patchouli and citrus) to the mix while it’s still hot. It’s also possible to create your own scent by cold-pressing oils from leftover fruit peels – keep reading to find out how.

Our planet-friendly cooking oil candles:

You’ll need
150 ml used cooking oil
100g beeswax
String (for the wick)
A glass jar or coconut bowl

The process
Heat the used cooking oil and beeswax in a saucepan, stirring constantly until the wax dissolves. Hold your piece of string upright using tweezers in the middle of the jar or coconut holder, as you carefully pour the wax mixture in. Either add your choice of scent or leave it plain. Leave to set for approximately one hour.

Want to cold-press your own scents?
Start by thoroughly washing the fruit you’re using to remove bacteria. Next, remove the rind of the fruit with a peeler or knife. Then, use a pressing device such as a sieve or garlic press, squeeze the fruit peel over a jar until you see liquid drain from the peel. Pour the liquid into your candle mix while it’s still warm.

About Sustainism Lab
Led by Potato Head’s Director of Sustainability Lauren Blasco, the Zero Waste Hacks are facilitated by our in-house Sustainism Lab team. 

Sustainism Lab is a research and design workshop located inside Desa Potato Head which is dedicated to finding innovative solutions to waste. It helps the Desa adhere to a zero-waste philosophy, and drives Potato Head towards becoming a circular brand where every element fits into the three ‘r’s of sustainability—reduce, reuse and recycle. The lab also functions as an inspirational and collaborative space for our physical and online audience, and our industry peers.

Support Bali’s community
Here’s how some of our friends in Bali are creating brightness on the island, and how you can support;

THANK ME LATER
Our favourite sustainable sunscreen producer has created a limited batch of anti-bacterial and anti-microbial hand sanitizers, powered by 70% ethyl alcohol and pure lemon essential oil.

SAVON STELLA
Jil Wong has created bamboo-charcoal and collagen soaps that are gentle enough to use on face and body. A percentage of every purchase is put towards food packs for local friends who have lost their jobs. Orders can be placed by shooting them a DM on their Instagram account.