In conclusion, these candles that cost $30 are unsustainable in a lot of manners, and there are lots of options for soy candles that are made in a much more sustainable way, though it is helpful that they have a fairly transparent Sustainability Commitment Page on their main website.
The original jar candles are made of a glass container with a paper and wax label, and inside the packaging is wax with a wick. This wax is paraffin wax, which is very unsustainable and is a byproduct of petroleum made from refining crude oil. This releases toxins, and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, can be a source of indoor air pollution exceeding recommended limits. The EPA also states that soot leftover from burning candles may contain carcinogenic toxins like benzene and toluene. Though it is good that Yankee Candle does not use lead wicks and they are made from pure cotton, the paraffin wax is a big deal as soy candles that are not petroleum-based and create much less soot are toxin-free and totally accessible and easy to make. The paraffin wax is used because it has a stronger scent when burned, but are too unsafe and unsustainable to be a reasonable alternative to soy wax, as it also supports the unsustainable oil industry.
These candles are made in a large factory in Massachusetts and it is slightly difficult to find information on this supply chain. The company uses more than 175,000 pounds of wax each day and mixes in additives and fragrances, but there is very little transparent information on these additives. They have a commitment to using responsible amounts of energy at their factories and minimizing waste, though it is not clear exactly how they achieve this. There is also a statement on their website about identifying recycling and reuse solutions, but the process of creating the paraffin wax is very unsustainable.
The company of Yankee Candle has made a substantial effort to partner with sustainable, responsible suppliers, and only partner with companies that “recognize the importance of” cleaner manufacturing, waste reduction, and recycling, which does not exclusively state that they do these things, but it is clear that sustainability is at the forefront of their minds. As their company is very large nationally, it is unclear if there is a specific trend in the makeup of the company, but their executive roles seem to include a mix of genders and identities.