Eco Kids Visit Bluecorn Naturals Factory in Ridgway
by Sylvan Stewart-Bald, Ethan Casselberry and Willow Krois
Jun 03, 2009 | 1749 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
(Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)
slideshow
(Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)
slideshow
(Courtesy photo)
(Courtesy photo)
slideshow
Jon Kornbluh, founder of Bluecorn Natural Beeswax Candles started making candles in 1991. He made candles because the Telluride cabin he lived in had no electricity. The kerosene lamps he used for light gave him headaches so a friend suggested he burn candles instead. He and a friend dipped 100 candles on the first night. The next day they went out on the streets of Telluride and sold all of the candles they had made. Jon realized he liked making and selling candles, people liked to buy his candles, and it was good for the environment. He decided to go into candle making business.

Jon’s first candle factory was located in Rico, Colo. It was there for 14 years. He moved the factory to 104 Campbell Lane in Ridgway on April 1, 2009. He showed us around their new factory.

Jon chose to make his candles from beeswax because beeswax is environmentally friendly and natural. Paraffin wax candles are made from petroleum and when they burn they release toxins. Paraffin wax candles also burn faster than beeswax candles. Jon buys his beeswax from companies in Canada and the United States. He feels they sell the highest quality beeswax.

Raw beeswax right from the hive has all sorts of things like bee parts and dirt in it, so it needs to be cleaned. The beeswax is melted with carbon and crushed seashells (diatomaceous earth). The beeswax is then flattened using pressurized paper and the diatomaceous earth pulls the impurities out of the beeswax. The color of the beeswax before it is filtered can be yellow and light brown. The more the beeswax is filtered , the lighter in color it gets. Bluecorn purchases mostly filtered beeswax but sometimes they buy it raw and filter it at the factory.

A Bit About Bees

Bees are amazing creatures. They take pollen from plants and make beeswax and honey with it. Bees produce wax to make their honeycombs. The wax comes from under their wings. There is great concern lately because bees have been disappearing around the world. Colony Collapse Disorder is the name for the virus that scientists believe to be the cause. For more information about bees please see the EcoKids’ “Honeybees are Important” article from Sept. 7, 2008.

Back to the Bluecorn Tour

The filtered beeswax is ready for use. It is then put into electrically powered water-jacketed tanks where it is melted. Dyes and scents are also added at this point. Bluecorn uses essential oils (lavenders, sage, peppermint, etc.) to scent their candles. Soy is also used for making candles. However, soy cannot be used in their taper candles because it makes them too soft. Jon has been experimenting with adding palm wax as a hardening ingredient but since he only uses sustainable products, he is having difficulty finding a supplier. Most palm trees are not managed sustainably; the rain forests are being torn down to plant palm plantations. Bluecorn can make 912 taper candles in one dipping session. The taper candles have to be dipped about 20 times before they are done. They also make molded candles, votives and tealights.

Bluecorn has four employees and can have up to nine during the holiday season. They sell their candles on the Internet www.beeswaxcandles.com, by phone, at the factory storefront and wholesale. Bluecorn uses environmentally friendly packaging, too. They use packing peanuts made out of corn starch which are edible (they don’t taste very good!) and dissolve in water.

Bluecorn Naturals is having a Grand Opening/Open House on Tuesday, June 16 from 5-8 p.m. You should check it out! It is a really neat place to visit and learn about candle making.
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