There are few times you can actually watch recycling happen in real time at home. That’s why this simple design is so interesting: As a candle burns and the wax melts, it’s automatically resurrected into a brand new candle right in front of you.
"Seeing one of those cascading drip candles triggered the idea," says U.K.-based designer Benjamin Shine. "What if a candle’s melted waste wax could form another candle?"
The process isn’t infinite; each time the Rekindle Candle burns, there’s a little less wax left, and eventually you’d have to start over with a new candle. How long it lasts, Shine says, depends on the specific candle—some burn faster, some are drippier—but you might be able to reuse the wax as many as five times.
Candles probably aren’t something you use in daily life, now that electricity is a thing, and throwing them out isn’t the world’s most pressing environmental issue. Still, most of us have a few sitting around for the occasional romantic dinner or natural disaster, and when they’re put to use, they don’t last long. Most are made from oil-based paraffin wax, which it makes sense to recycle—but in the past that's meant going through a somewhat complicated process of collecting and remelting puddles of melted wax.
As his design has gotten some attention, Shine says he’s been contacted by people around the world who want to recycle their candles but couldn’t find a simple way of doing it. For now, the design’s just a working prototype, so potential buyers will have to wait. It’s such a simple concept that it’s hard to believe no one’s ever made it before, but Shine now has a patent pending.