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Those darned candles

Thanks for Michael Kooi of Sustainable Duluth for his column, "When holiday leftovers linger" (Jan. 25 Budgeteer), reminding folks that they can discard holiday "leftovers" without putting them into the landfill.

Kooi ended his column bemoaning the fact that he would have to "trash" leftover candles stuck in thick glass jars. I'd like to offer another solution, one that fits with the "reuse" option in the three R's: reduce, reuse and recycle.

I've been given many a "glass candle" as a gift and wondered what to do when the candle was done burning, but had left that contoured melted wax along the bottom and sides. The wax is actually easy to remove. When it is cool and dry, just slip a dull-edged knife between the wax and the side of the glass. Typically the wax will "pop" and you can remove the funny-shaped piece, then wash the glass for reuse.

Hardcore "reusers" will save the wax, collecting all sorts of odd bits of candle to melt down and make their own new candles. I'm not that ambitious, so I do usually toss the wax, but I save the glass vessels. Most of them remain candleholders; I just buy votive candles that fit easily inside. A few of these glass vessels, however, have made it into my cupboards and are used for juice. A couple turned out to be the perfect size for a winter nip of whiskey.

Rachel Wagner,