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Because You Asked

Because You Asked: Can I Recycle Glass Candle Jars?

By Recyclebank |
A candle’s jar can stand up to the heat, but that’s not always a good thing where curbside recycling is concerned. Here’s what to do.

Dear Recyclebank: I was wondering if the glass jars that candles come in, such as those that Yankee Candle® uses, are recyclable with regular glass? –Leslie H.

Dear Leslie: If you’re like me, you’ll agree that gatherings on summer nights almost feel incomplete without a candle or two burning. This is especially true if you use citronella candles to fend off mosquitoes. Candles in jars are an easy way to light your cookout, or 4th of July party, with minimal mess, but once they’ve burned down, you’ve got extra waste on your hands.

Your main concern when recycling glass candle jars is the type of glass used. Candle jars are safe for curbside recycling if they’re made from standard container (soda-lime) glass. However, other types of glass, such as borosilicate, may be used for these jars to help withstand the heat of the burning candle, in which case there could be a problem. This is because mixing different kinds of glass in a recycling batch is a recipe for disaster. Unfortunately, the different melting points of the different glass types can lead to low-quality recycled glass and even broken machinery. Depending on which brand you prefer, you may be able to ask their customer service department directly if they use “container” or “soda-lime” glass, which will indicate that their glass is safe for the bin. If a different kind of glass is used, you can ask the company if they accept their jars back for recycling or reuse.

Yankee Candle® already has an established system, as a matter of fact. They offer a drop-off recycling program in tandem with TerraCycle; all you have to do is bring your jars back to one of their participating stores. You’ll even receive a five-dollar coupon for every five jars you bring in! Only twenty-five locations offer the program at this time, so if you’re not near one of them, you may need to explore other options.

Of course, you can always make use of your candle jars at home. Before you reuse them, be sure to clean them out thoroughly. You can do this by baking the jars at a low temperature or melting the remaining wax out with boiling water. (Save the wax for these handy uses.) Once jars are clean and sanitized, they can be used for bulk ingredient storage in your kitchen (if they have lids), to organize small items on your desk or in your bathroom, or even to hold new candles so you don’t have to buy them in a jar every time. You can find a compilation of great ideas for jar crafts here. If you’re careful, these jars can last for years and possibly save even more resources than if you had recycled them.

How do you reuse glass jars around the house? Share your tips in the comments below.
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  • Natalie S. 1 day ago
    I reuse mine for smaller items in my sewing room. I was thinking of using them for spices (I tend to buy the same brand and has a nice lid) but my problem is the lid still has the candle scent to it. I've washed them many times, soaked with vinegar and soaked them with vinegar and baking soda. I still can not get rid of the scent and do not want to put spices in them because of that. Does anyone else have this problem and how did you go about solving it? Thanks so much.
  • Janice M. 25 days ago
    We use our bath and body works candle jars in the bathroom to hold q-tips, eye makeup remover pads , they are really pretty and come with all different types of decorative lids.
  • Elaine D. 1 month ago
    I LOVE Yankee Candles and although I try to buy them on sale, I feel like something that I really like that much is worth the cost. My husband loves them too so that makes it ok. I never throw away the last little bit of wax because I don't want to waste money and yummy smell. I save mine until I have a few different candles that no longer burn and then layer the leftovers in a glass cup or jar with a new wick and make a layered candle. I also wash my jars out with extra abrasive pads and hot water and use them to organize scrapbook stuff.
  • Mohan D. 2 months ago
    When we buy the glass candles jars, we look for the ones that look like regular drinking glasses. When the candles are done we use them for drinking fluids after we clean them in hot water, which takes the wax out. For the rest of jars, we store spices and stuff.
  • Deborah W. 4 months ago
    Yes - I have problems getting the wax out of the glass jar. I just learned to freeze the jar. I have recycled - clean ones - I usually save for more candles.
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