Don't Toss Out Those Used Wax Melts, Tarts or Buttons—Recycle Them!!

Updated on November 15, 2016
Scented wax sold to perfume your house can be recycled after the scent is used up.
Scented wax sold to perfume your house can be recycled after the scent is used up.

This is the article to read if you have a wood-burning stove, fireplace, charcoal or wood grill, or if you are a campfire lover and have ever had trouble getting the logs to light—whether they were just being obstinate for whatever reason that day or if the logs were slightly wet.

I use a lot of wax tarts or buttons in electric tart burners to add scent to our home. I usually keep one or two going in various rooms throughout the house pretty much every second that someone is home, especially since I have discovered economical brands in hobby shops and mega marts that offer a broad spectrum of scents: from country-kitchen scents to flower based scents to fruit scents and many others in between. They come in a six pack of tart buttons, are not weak-scented and are much less expensive than the tarts that I have found in the popular candle company stores.

At one time, I would have just tossed out the wax once the scent was warmed out of the tart, but now I have found a very effective and useful way to recycle the wax after it has cooled and re-hardened. I turn off the burner and allow the wax to cool and harden in the burner and then remove it or I soak up the liquid wax with a paper towel and place it on a plate or cookie sheet to allow it to cool and harden. Once the wax is re-hardened, I store them in plastic zip-top bags and use them as “fuel” to help start a wood fire.

How I Came to Discover This Useful Recycling Tip

We have a fireplace in our family room. One very bitter cold and blustery day, I was home by myself and my hot tea was just not warming me quickly enough so I decided to start a fire in our fireplace. I went to the garage to get some logs, but the log pile that we keep handily close to the house had been depleted of logs and not replenished. So, not easily dissuaded from my desire to have a warm fire, I bundled up and braved the weather to bring four wheelbarrow loads of wood up to the house from the woodpile. By the time my wood replenishing task was complete, I felt like I could pass as Frosty's skinnier sister - frozen to my bones and even more desperately in need of a toasty fire that I could sit next to and thaw out a little! So, I got to work and began to build my fire – only to find that I did not have any kindling to help start the fire, only a cardboard box waiting to go out in the trash. I ripped apart the box and placed it on the grate, piled some logs on top and lit the cardboard, blowing beneath the grate to keep the fire that was started on the cardboard going. The logs were not cooperating in catching fire for me so I stood up, looked around the room and thought to myself, “Now, how am I going to get this fire started with no good kindling?” I spotted a tart burner sitting on an end table that was turned off and there was a used, hardened wax tart sitting in the top. I removed the wax from the burner and laid it on the top log of my fire. I blew on my cardboard kindling fire, fortunately it was still going, to give it some oxygen to make it grow and it began to heat the wax and melt it. The wax started to drip down to the logs beneath it and onto the fire. The wax on the logs began to catch fire and the logs began to start burning with embers. I kept on blowing and in only a few minutes time had a warm and cozy fire glowing in the fireplace. The wax was an extremely useful “fuel” to help catch the logs on fire and worked much more quickly than it would have with just the cardboard. I only had to use one tart, which is a very small amount of wax, and did not need to add another to keep it going.

We have since used the recycled wax tarts to help fuel our charcoal grill by breaking one up and sprinkling it over the charcoal briquettes to help keep them burning longer. We have also taken them with us to the beach when we go to have a waterfront campfire and hot dog roast to help get the campfire going in a much shorter time. I believe it would work with any kind of woodstove or campfire. I would not recommend using them with any other type grill, stove or fire that has another gas or fuel source – only the kind that uses wood alone.

When I placed that wax tart on top of the logs in my fire, it turned out to be one of the best uses for a recycled product that I have tried yet – it worked extraordinarily well. My husband, although a self-proclaimed professional fireplace fire starter, even uses them to help give his fires a boost sometimes - imagine that?! Give it a try if you use wax tarts to scent your home and have trouble getting a fire going – it may just take a bit of the frustration out of the process and start to warm you up a little faster - and who wouldn't rather re-use something for an effective purpose than toss it in the trash?


Aaah....the warmth of a cozy fire!
Aaah....the warmth of a cozy fire!

Update: Another Idea for Those Used Wax Tarts

I have, since I first published this hub, used my spent wax tarts for another project. I live in a very woody area, filled with pine trees that drop pine cones all over the place, so I scoured my yard and our woods and filled a large basket full of pine cones - large ones, medium ones and even cute little tiny ones. I tied wick around the top of each one. I found a large, old pot, melted the tarts down and dipped the pine cones into the melted wax and laid them on wax paper lined cookie sheets to cool and harden. Then I re-dipped them and allowed them to cool again. They work even better at starting fires than the tarts on their own and they make a beautiful accent decoration when placed in a basket with other kindling.

Wax coated pine cones - pine cone firestarters
Wax coated pine cones - pine cone firestarters | Source
Wax-coated pine cone
Wax-coated pine cone | Source
Wax-coated pine cones
Wax-coated pine cones | Source

Questions & Answers

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      • sallieannluvslife profile imageAUTHOR

        sallieannluvslife 

        19 months ago from Eastern Shore

        Hi MC! There really isn't all that much wax on the pine cones, it may drip a little in the bottom but will be completely burned off by the time your fire goes out. I usually build my fire and light the pine cones on the top of my starter kindling and it burns fairly quickly so most of the was is burned off by the time the fire is fully lit.

      • profile image

        MC YOUNG 

        19 months ago

        I have a fireplace and I love the thought of using the pine cone tarts. What will the wax do to your fireplace. Does it make a mess?

      • sallieannluvslife profile imageAUTHOR

        sallieannluvslife 

        3 years ago from Eastern Shore

        Hi Insightful Tiger! The wax coated pine cones are my all time favorite thing to do with the recycled wax. They work so well when starting a wood fire in our fireplace on a cold evening! I actually am getting low and need to get dipping again!! Good luck with yours - the cinnamon scented pine cones would probably make them smell so wonderful!!

      • Insightful Tiger profile image

        Insightful Tiger 

        3 years ago

        I have a bunch of old cinnamon pine cones I want to try this on! Thanks for the idea :)

      • sallieannluvslife profile imageAUTHOR

        sallieannluvslife 

        3 years ago from Eastern Shore

        Hi Abigail - it is a little difficult to be able to remove all the scent from the tarts if you wanted to make your own scented candles from the wax but if the scent didn't matter, you most assuredly could make any number of different candles from the recycled tarts....wax is wonderfully versatile and recyclable!

      • sallieannluvslife profile imageAUTHOR

        sallieannluvslife 

        3 years ago from Eastern Shore

        Oceansunsets - sorry I must have missed your comment - I usually try to reply to each one...I hope that you have used some of the hub ideas with the wax from your used tarts - maybe while sitting around a campfire watching oceansunsets?!

      • profile image

        Abigail 

        3 years ago

        Once the scent has been burned out of the wax, why not make it into a recycled candle? Also lots of people are buying used wax to recycle into candles.

      • oceansnsunsets profile image

        Paula 

        6 years ago from The Midwest, USA

        Hi Sallieann, thanks for the tips! I use wax tarts, and often wondered how to reuse these instead of throwing them away. I don't use wood fires much, as we have a gas fireplace. We do camp on occasion, or use a fire pit outside for get togethers, etc. I had no idea the was from those would burn! What a neat idea to find out the way you did.

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