Since the pandemic broke and you’re spending more time at home, how many of you have started buying home wellness products – most notably, scented candles?
I was never a huge fan of scented candles till last year, when the lockdown and stress made me crave for more self-care at home. I started shopping for home fragrances, essential oils and scented candles – does that sound familiar?
OiLilin Sells Handmade Scented Candles Made from Used Cooking Oil Collected from Restaurants. Photo Source: OiLilin
Many of us might also be aware that burning candles can actually be harmful for our health and the environment, especially ordinary paraffin candles due to the toxins they release into the air (paraffin is obtained from petroleum products).
Most of you might hence opt to buy more environmentally-friendly soy candles. But what if there’s a method to go a step further to care for the environment – by using candles that are actually made from used cooking oil?
This is exactly what you’ll find at OiLilin, a small Malaysia-based online business selling scented candles. All their candles are made from used cooking oil collected from halal-certified restaurants around Kuala Lumpur.
Besides Ready-Made Candles, OiLilin Also Sells DIY Candle-Making Kits that You Can Use to Make Your Own Candles from Your Used Cooking Oil at Home. Photo Source: OiLilin
How it started: Three friends’ passion in environmental conservation
Redza Shahid, One of the Three Co-founders of OiLilin. Photo Source: OiLilin
We spoke to Redza, who shared that when he was chatting with restaurant owners, he realised that there was another common wastage that had an impact on the environment – their used cooking oil, which most restaurants simply dispose of.
In fact, 500,000 tons of used cooking oil in Malaysia are discharged to the environment without proper waste treatment every year.
If You DIY Your Own Candle, the Candle-Making Process Only Takes Three Minutes. Photo Source: OiLilin
The Collected Used Cooking Oil Is Filtered Before It Can Be Used in Candles. Photo Source: OiLilin
“Would my candle smell like fried chicken?”
However, their concept was initially met with skepticism, Redza admitted.
“People were concerned about the safety and smell,” he said. “They were asking, ‘Would it smell like fried chicken?’ So it took a while to validate our idea.”
They officially launched their online shop in April 2020 during the Movement Control Order (MCO) in Malaysia, and it was through conversations with customers that people started to be convinced that their candles were not only safe to use but also environmentally-friendly (and no, it doesn’t smell like fried chicken, of course, but like any other scented candle).
The team also invited local celebrities to do live sessions on social media to share about the candle-making process and how customers could even purchase the DIY candle-making kits to make their own scented candles at home.
Leaving the Candles to Solidify Before It Can Be Used! Photo Source: OiLilin
Pouring their passions into a neglected sector
“When you do good to the environment, you don’t see the impact right away,” he explained. “As compared to if you are helping an underprivileged kid, for example, you’ll see the impact more visibly.”
“That’s why we want to keep pushing on and doing what we are doing,” Redza emphasized. “We need to increase awareness. When I was doing food waste [at Grub Cycle], people said that they care about food waste, but they still throw away their uneaten food, because if they don’t do that, it’s not like someone else is going to eat it.”
There is hence a need to keep reminding people on the importance of going green in various aspects of their lives, so that these old habits could be changed over time.
“If we don’t do this, what will happen to the state of our environment in future? What will happen to our kids and the future generation?” he added.
However, he is glad that environmental awareness is gradually increasing in Malaysia, especially among young people. “Since around last year, more people are becoming more environmentally conscious – people are choosing to use less plastics, eat less meat and so on,” he said. “More environmentally conscious products and services are also emerging.”
The co-founders are the ones making your candles
OiLilin’s Co-founders Make the Candles Themselves. Photo Source: OiLilin
And testimonials from their customers have been very inspiring and motivating, Redza shared.
“A mother once thanked us for offering the DIY candle-making kit,” he elaborated. “She said, ‘Now I can spend more time at home with my daughter.’ It was really nice and touching to hear that.”
Looking forward to offering their candles to the Singapore market
Moving forward, the OiLilin team is currently in discussion to list their products on a Singapore-based online platform specialising in products with a social cause, Market For Good.
OiLilin’s Candles Come in a Variety of Fruity, Floral and Spicy Scents. Photo Source: OiLilin
A 105g jar of scented candle which can burn up to 30 hours currently sells for RM 29 in Malaysia. Prices in Singapore would likely be similar, which would translate to around S$10.
“We want to keep the price similar as we are an environmentally-conscious company,” Redza said, explaining that they want to focus on spreading the message of environmental awareness instead of earning huge margins.
“We know that the candle industry can be expensive, but [raising prices] is not something that we want to do. As long as it’s sustainable for us, we are more than happy to keep the prices affordable.”
Currently, you can purchase scented candles from OiLilin’s website.
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