Innovation That Matters

Used cooking oil for ultra-local candlemaking in Tokyo

Fashion & Beauty

Tokyo candlemakers Filt don’t have to travel far to source their raw materials: they’re located directly above Chubby, a cafe that’s happy to hand over its used cooking oil to Filt, which carefully filters the oil to remove odors and sediment. After adding pigments and a vanilla scent, the filtered oil is poured into glass jars that the company collects from local recycling bins. The candles come in various sizes and—despite their humble origins—sell for artisanal prices of JPY 2,000–3,600 (USD 20–36) at local boutiques and at Chubby, which also uses the candles on its own tables. Bringing their recycling efforts full circle, Filt asks customers to keep their empty jars for storage, or to return them so that they can be made into new candles (no word on whether that entitles customers to a discount on their next purchase). As can be expected from savvy brand-builders, Filt offers a premium range of candles, too. Besides the basic jam jars, the company also sells candles in ‘hard to find’ antique glassware. Besides its eco appeal and extreme (still) made here approach—which is a great story to share—it’s the branding that makes Filt stand out, giving those disparate, found items a uniform look and smell, and turning a craft project into a marketable product. Those of you with marketing smarts and time to spare: if you live near a restaurant and aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty, this is a concept you could start tomorrow. (Related: Leather jackets remade into designer bagsPowering restaurants with kitchen greaseMass-made to order, here.) Spotted by: C-Scout Japan



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