Is Soy Wax Organic?

WHEN IS SOMETHING ‘ORGANIC’?

The eco-friedly trend has hit candle making too.  Soy wax and other vegetable waxes are gaining in popularity.  Some candle makers are not only moving to soy wax but are also looking for organic soy wax. Awareness about saving  the environment has brought a host of terminology … what does it all mean?   And how can one really make a difference?

Organic :

This refers specifically to food production and farming practice. “(of food or farming methods) produced or involving production without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial chemicals.”

Organic Certification in the USA :

lifehacker.com defines it as follows, “… if you see the “USDA Organic” or “Certified Organic” seal on your food, the item must have an ingredients list and the contents should be 95% or more certified organic, meaning free of synthetic additives like pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and dyes, and must not be processed using industrial solvents, irradiation, or genetic engineering, according to the USDA. The remaining 5% may only be foods or processed with additives on an approved list.”

Read more about what organic certification means in South Africa.

In the USA 91% of soybean crops are genetically engineered.   It is clear that commercially grown soy products are therefore highly unlikely to be certified organic.

A few of our customers have asked for soy wax that is certified organic. According to the US definition it would be almost impossible to produce such a wax commercially:  for starters at least 91% of the soy plants grown are genetically modified. Secondly the production of soy wax involves the use of industrial solvents.

Therefore, if anyone sells you organic soy wax, it would be wise to check the certification thoroughly.

WHAT IS SOY WAX ANYWAY?

Soy wax is a vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans. After harvesting, the beans are cleaned, cracked, de-hulled, and rolled into flakes. The oil is then extracted from the flakes and hydrogenated. The hydrogenation process converts some of the fatty acids in the oil from unsaturated to saturated.

What is a ‘vegetable wax’?  It is a wax made from plants or parts of plants. Stearic acid is also a vegetable wax.

IF IT’S NOT ORGANIC, THEN WHAT IS IT?

You’d like to say something nice about your soy candles …. but now that you can’t label them ‘organic’, how can you label them? You could label them “natural” or “vegetable wax”. Manufacturers increasingly use the term “natural” to differentiate their products from chemical or synthetic products.