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Burnt out: East Campus students upcycle wax into new candles

By Burnt Out Environmental Initiative student group
5 June 2023

Have you wondered how your half-burnt candles are disposed of? Well, unsurprisingly, they end up in landfills and as they are most often made of paraffin wax, they are not biodegradable. In this way, tons of wax is wasted every year. That’s where our newest Environmental Initiative group, 'Burnt Out' comes in!

Service co-chair Jamie Paik states that "Singapore as a country tends to overlook waxes and glass jars as recycling material, so recycling them into new packaging-free candles serves as a long lasting and more sustainable alternative to candles that would otherwise be wasted after the wick gets too short and would be thrown out prematurely." 

UWCSEA East burnt out EI student group
UWCSEA East burnt out EI candles

This new environmental initiative  “Burnt out” all started when service co-chair Emily Liu had an enterprise project upcycling old wax to turn into new candles using molds. This sparked the idea to turn her small enterprise project into something greater, with an impact on the wider community. Burnt out is now partnered with Gili Eco Trust where Burnt Out produces candles for the organisation to sell. The profits made from the candles go towards helping the organisation work towards restoring coral reefs in Gili. Founded in 2004, Gili Eco Trust is a Global NGO, aiming to protect coral reefs from destructive fishing. As Coral Reefs are a necessity for aquatic life, their movement is a key contributor to sustaining life below water.

The group recently hosted a candle donation drive, through which they were able to gather candles and glass jars from our local community, which are now starting to transform into unique candle products. These candles are planned to be sold at various events including family festivals and Swimdonesia. One of the group’s biggest orders yet has been from MUN, who have requested a total of 180 candles for October 2023, one for each MUN participant as a token of appreciation. Jamie explained that some of the profits made at these events would not only go to their partner, Gili Eco Trust, but would be retained to help them to achieve their goals in the future. These goals being expanding production and getting a firm supplier without having to rely on donations for their materials. 

One of the many benefits of being a part of Burnt Out is the fact that members get to enjoy the fun of candle making, while simultaneously contributing to a sustainable cause. Not only are their products unique, they even have a scented aroma when lit. 

In terms of packaging, Burnt Out has recently been discussing a partnership with Trashion, another local service group, in order to obtain packaging that uses recycled clothes.

This makes for an excellent addition to anyone who loves a little self care night, perhaps snuggled up in bed with a book and a lovely upcycled, burnt out candle burning (safely) on their bedside table. 


UWCSEA East burnt out EI yellow candle