Beeswax: Is it Ethical?

I get asked all the time if I make beeswax candles. And the answer is no, but let me tell you why. I do own beeswax candles, and I did experiment with beeswax when I first opened up shop in 2020. I loved the smell, the rich golden colour and the crackle of the burn. What I did not love was the amount of damage that went into harvesting beeswax to create candles.

Simply put, Beeswax is not Cruelty-Free.

The factory farming of beeswax is happening and it causes A LOT of hard and death to our bees population. Beeswax may not be sustainable or ethical, depending on how the beeswax is harvested – therefore it is not cruelty-free OR vegan. Beeswax is not honey; it's the wax that honeybees secrete and use to mould their honeycombs.

Because the demand for beeswax products is so high, it can lead to the unethical handling of honeybees and their hives. It's hard to read and believe but, to actually get the beeswax, you have to melt an entire beehive, boil it in water, and allow it to cool down. I don't know about you, but for me, that seems the furthest thing from ethical.

Because the demand for cosmetics and other beeswax products is so high, it can lead to unethical handling of honeybees and their hives. This refers to the mass transportation of hives as well as the rather cruel mishandling of the bees themselves. In an article on Green Matters, "according to Best Cruelty Free, the process of isolating the beehive for melting requires cruel treatment to the Queen Bee. Her wings are often clipped so that she cannot leave the hive. Ethical?"

Now, this isn't to say that ALL bee farms are unethical and that all beeswax products are unethically sourced, but it takes a lot of research and time to figure out which ones are doing it the right way vs mass bee-farming. Beeswax does burn clean, and is non-toxic however, because of the harvesting and damage done to the bees and their hive it is not cruelty free, ethical or sustainable.

So, how do you know if a beeswax candle is ethical? Research. 

Green Matters has a lot of great resources for finding out where to source ethically made beeswax, "Take a deep dive into the brands and find out as much as you can about their beekeeping and beeswax-harvesting processes. It’s important to buy from beekeepers with ethical farming practices. Here are a few of our favourites, which we vetted for ethical farming, too: The Future Kept, Flore, Tatine, and Tiny Ritual."