I use tea lights on a regular basis because I use a flame-warmed oil burner for some offerings, and I also use tea light candleholders in shrine areas for the Eumenides, for Dionysos, for household Zeus, and for ancestors.
This is one of my brief logistical posts. Demographically speaking, I am guessing that 90% of the people reading this use them, and many of us (all of us?) do want to have more eco-friendly options to reduce landfill waste.
Most tea light cups are made either of plastic or very thin metal. If one is trying to be eco-friendly, plastic is out due to the waste generated. With limited success, I had been buying tea lights without cups and using knives and other fun things to get the old wax out of my tea light holders, following the general idea of “the greenest thing to do is to not throw things out when they actually work.” This went well until I learned that plastic can catch on fire even when the tea light companies claim it is flame-resistant — the wick just gets too close to the edge — so I started using metal-cupped tea lights.
Metal tea light holders are better insofar as they do not catch on fire. They seemed easy to use, but the metal is so thin that they break easily when one is trying to get old wax out of them.
After breaking a few metal cups while trying to refill them, I decided that someone — somewhere — must have made reusable tea light cups. They would ideally be metal, thick enough to withstand pulling the wax out with a knife. They would need to fit the cup-free beeswax (yay bees! 🐝) tea lights I already have.
I found out that there is a small, yet growing, market of options for reusable tea light cups — glass, plastic, and metal. I settled on Serenibee steel cups, which just came in the mail.
They feel weighty. I’ll update this post if they end up not working out well. However, I am optimistic, and we will see how this goes!