Solid Waste & Recycling


Mind Your Beeswax

Catalina Navarro, a 2010 graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD), created an innovative design for her final thesis project titled "Second Life Zero Waste." She created a cosmetic packaging container made of local...

Catalina Navarro, a 2010 graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD), created an innovative design for her final thesis project titled “Second Life Zero Waste.” She created a cosmetic packaging container made of local beeswax that’s designed to have a dual-use as a candle. Once a consumer is finished with the cosmetic product, the container serves as a candle. The zero-waste container is designed to bypass the waste stream and not to put stress on municipal landfills and recycling facilities.

Navarro created five prototype containers, each one designed to hold a cosmetic product currently on the market. One particularly innovative design is modeled after a Body Shop hair product container for “Beeswax Texturizing Wax.” The Body Shop container is made out of polypropylene that must be recycled. The beeswax container performs the same function as a traditional plastic container. The dimensions and amount of product held in the container are the same. Even its lid has threads that allow the container to be opened and closed like any typical twist-off lid.

The container is very durable. It’s been tested by various drop tests and has not broken when dropped from a height of nine feet. When I squeezed the container as hard as I could, the container moved slightly under pressure but did not break. Navarro explained that beeswax is malleable, and the wick actually strengthens the container. The organic cotton wick is coiled within the container so that when it’s used as a candle, the flame travels in a spiral. The candle takes approximately three hours to burn. (Navarro is currently in the process of perfecting the design so that all the wax is burned and the candle does not drip.)

Many functions of the beeswax packaging are similar to the original plastic version; however, there are some important differences. Since Navarro’s packaging is made from beeswax, the container should not be kept for extended periods of time in hot locations. The beeswax container weighs 65 grams and is just over twice the weight of the original plastic design, which weighs only 28 grams. The cost of producing Navarro’s beeswax package is high ($1.90 per container). Thus, Navarro’s beeswax dual-use candle container is more expensive to purchase and transport than a typical container; but, it gives consumers additional pleasure and represents 100 per cent producer responsibility.

OCAD University recognized Navarro’s innovative environmental design by awarding her the OCAD Industrial Design Medal, Mimi Vandermolen Scholarship, Nora E. Vaughan Award, and the Spoke Club Membership Prize. Navarro also won the Sustainability Award, the Cimetrix Solutions Award, and the Campbell Venture Opportunity Award at the Rocket Show (an annual Industrial Design competition between OCAD University, Humber College and Carleton University). The Venture Opportunity Award allows her to pitch her design to successful business entrepreneur, David Campbell. Navarro hopes to continue to perfect her design and create similar beeswax containers for precious goods, chocolate and seasonal gifts.

Catherine Leighton has recently obtained her Master’s degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Waterloo. She is currently based in Toronto and can be contacted at

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5 Comments » for Mind Your Beeswax
  1. Sue Leighton says:

    I’ve read several of your articles by this author and find her work both intriguing and clearly presented. Thank you for hiring such readable and interesting writers for the magazine.

  2. Chris says:

    I love this Idea! Where can i get one?

  3. Pedro Arango says:

    Is this product already available at The Body Shop in Toronto?

  4. Johnny C. says:

    I attended the ACIDO Rocket show where the design competition was held and saw her designs. Candles have been around for centuries so I felt kind of privileged for witnessing the invention of a radically and completely new type. Something never done before. As a package and as a stand-alone candle this product was certainly a spark of genius. It’s so different from what’s currently available that it is uncanny. I wonder which cosmetics company will pick up this design first. Johnny C. Shambulardo

  5. Matthew Loren says:

    What a clever idea! I went to a wedding recently where they had little gifts with Lush cosmetics inside; my wife loved hers. Having these gifts packaged inside a candle would be incredible smart. Now my wife wants one ! ML

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