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Is Beeswax Biodegradable?

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Beeswax has a lot of uses.

From product wraps to medicinal uses to even candles, beeswax is becoming high in demand.

As with many other products, we need to be concerned about ways to store or dispose of beeswax.

Is beeswax biodegradable? What are ways to dispose of beeswax?

Beeswax is biodegradable.

When disposed of properly, it can decompose in less than 2 months and when stored properly, it can be safe to use for many years.

Blocks of beeswax for candle making

This means that beeswax is a safe product for use in non-toxic homes.

There are a few ways to store beeswax so that it lasts longer.

Beeswax: Storage and Disposal

Everything that has a beginning eventually has an end. This is true even for beeswax.

First of all, what does “biodegradable” mean?

Why and How Does Bee Wax Biodegrade?

“Biodegrading” means the breaking down of materials by living organisms such as fungi and bacteria.

“Biodegrade” and “decompose” are used interchangeably to refer to the process of naturally breaking down some materials.

As an organic material, beeswax is biodegradable.

Bee wax can decompose in one month. This means that bee wax is environmentally-friendly and does not cause major pollution to our planet.

It also means that, if not stored properly, beeswax can decompose or spoil quickly.

How to Store Beeswax

Is it true that beeswax spoils quickly? Well, it depends on the product made with beeswax.

Beeswax in itself, when stored properly, can last for a very long time (maybe forever). The problem is when beeswax is mixed with other ingredients to form a product.

The beeswax in these products (such as lotions and creams) can go bad when other ingredients begin to spoil.

Here are great ways to store beeswax.

Beeswax Bars and beeswax candles

1. Wrap or seal it

It is not very difficult to store beeswax.

You can store beeswax by simply wrapping it with paper or a food-safe plastic seal.

You should wrap it to prevent fungi or bacteria from reaching it. If you like, you can seal it in a clean air-tight container.

2. Melt and seal it

Blocks of beeswax can require much more space than melted beeswax.

This method of storing bee wax is the most portable method. Since beeswax is a kind of wax, you can melt it.

You should melt it and safely pour the liquid wax into any glass or food-safe plastic container of your choice.

When sealed, your beeswax can stay good for many years.

3. Keep it away from items that quickly decompose

Beeswax in itself has propolis and other ingredients that prevent it from spoiling quickly.

When stored alone, beeswax can be safe for use many years later. If, however, you keep your beeswax close to items that spoil quickly such as perishable foods, it will degrade quickly.

Do not store your beeswax near materials that are quick to decompose.

Now you know how to properly store beeswax. How then can you dispose of it?

Ways to Dispose of Beeswax

1. Throw it in the trash receptacle

You can dispose of your beeswax the same way that you dispose of food materials and other non-toxic organic materials.

If you do not want to reuse it, you can simply throw it into the appropriate waste bin (i.e. the bin designated for organic wastes).

Trash bins for the house

2. Compost

Composting is fun and easy.

Beeswax is a great addition to compost because of its high carbon content (compost works best when there is enough carbon).

If you mix your beeswax with your compost pile, in less than four months, your compost should be ready for use.

Remember to water and turn the compost pile regularly.

3. Bury it in the ground

Don’t have time for compost? You can bury your beeswax in the ground.

When you bury your beeswax, it can take a longer time to decompose because decomposition usually requires a high amount of oxygen.

In time, your beeswax will degrade and become nutrients for your plants.

Just look at beeswax as a very slow source of plant food.

Some Uses of Beeswax

Here are three major uses of bee wax:

1. In cosmetics

The use of beeswax in cosmetics is an upcoming trend.

Due to its nature, beeswax, when added to other ingredients to make creams and lotions can prevent your skin from getting dry.

Beeswax helps to retain the moisture of your skin and protects your skin from the outside environment.

Beeswax is also used when making lip balm.

2. Candles

Beeswax candles are cheap and easy to make.

You can even reuse the same beeswax from multiple used candles to make a new candle. Awesome, right?

You can even make scented candles with beeswax.

3. Art

Encaustic painting is a form of art in which beeswax (with color additives) is melted and used to design surfaces (usually wood).

The artwork made with beeswax is fascinating to see.

Beeswax is also used as wood finishing in cookware.

Beeswax is a great finishing for wood when compared to other toxic chemicals used in wood making.

beeswax molded like a beehive

Questions and Answers Related to Storing and Disposing of Bee Wax

Here are a few common questions and answers:

1. Can you recycle beeswax?

This depends on what you used the beeswax for.

If the beeswax has not been mixed with other ingredients, it is safe for recycling.

If, however, you made an entirely different product with beeswax, you have to check if each ingredient used is recyclable.

Beeswax used to make candles, for example, is recyclable. Beeswax in spoiled lotions, however, is not recyclable.

2. Can you refrigerate or freeze beeswax?

You can store beeswax in a refrigerator or freezer. It is completely safe.

If you find a powdery substance on the surface of your beeswax after storing it in cooler temperatures, you can use a soft rag to wipe it or a blow drier to blow it off.

The powder that appears in cold bee wax is called bloom.

Beeswax blocks (not mixed with other ingredients) can stay for years without spoiling in the refrigerator or freezer.

3. Is Beeswax flammable? Should you burn it?

Beeswax is highly flammable.

The point of ignition for beeswax is 400° F (204° C).

Should you burn beeswax? Well, the only beeswax you should burn is your candle.

If you are burning beeswax to dispose of it, it can be dangerous and will release soot that can damage your lungs when inhaled.

Final Thoughts

Beeswax is biodegradable but can last for a long time when stored properly.

You should wrap, seal, or melt your beeswax to store it.

When disposing of your beeswax, make sure that you choose a green way to do so.

No matter what you are using your beeswax for, always remember that it is biodegradable, so store it properly and learn the appropriate ways to dispose of it.


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