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Balloons and the Environment – Sustainable Solutions

Aug.25.2021 68 view review

The release of plastic balloons into the atmosphere is truly damaging our environment, polluting our oceans, and killing many innocent animal species. While they are a form of celebration or in some cases mourning and have a pretty exterior look, those high in the sky colors circles will eventually fall and land back on the ground. The devastating balloon release environmental impact has led those in favor of a more sustainable and eco-friendly future to create a variety of earth-friendly balloons, which pose less threat to the environment and our planet s a whole. With the future in mind, it’s alternatives like this need to come into action before it’s too late to take back the damage we have already created. 

Are Balloons Bad for the Environment?

Before we get into the many environmentally friendly balloons alternatives, let’s take a look at why we need to replace them and the negative effects they are having on our planet. Firstly think about how often you see balloons, how many people’s birthdays are celebrated on an average day, and how many memorial days are rounded off with a large balloon release, the possibilities are endless, but we know the number is high. Now that is a lot of balloons going up into the sky daily and a lot of plastic landing back down on earth, into wildlife habitats and many water sources such as oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes. Not only balloons are bad for the environment but they are also considered hazards to many of the species that live within them.  Balloons and the environment are a dangerous combination for a multitude of reasons, including: 

Litter 

balloon nature

Firstly balloons are essentially pollutants and can be considered to be a source of litter, the only difference is that you are releasing the litter into the sky and allowing it to fall down to earth in a completely different part of the planet but that doesn’t mean you didn’t litter. That’s tons and tons of plastic landing all over the planet in a completely uncontrollable manner. This can harm the planet in multiple different ways and is an adding factor to our already established global warming and climate change issues.

Harmful to Wildlife 

One of the worst effects of non environmentally safe balloons is that they can not only pose a threat but also kill countless wildlife creatures. Most of the plastic from balloons eventually lands up in our oceans and over time turns into microplastics which are often mistakenly swallowed by marine life species including sea turtles, dolphins, countless fish, and birds. This tragic mistake can cause severe blockages in the animal’s digestive system and will eventually lead to starvation and death. But it’s not only the plastic balloon that is bad, what about the string, the string is another lament of balloon release that is dangerous and can easily cause small animals like birds to become entangled and trapped.

Are Balloons Recyclable?

In order to understand the recyclable qualities of balloons, one needs to know what they are made out of. There are a few different types of balloons that one can find, which most commonly include two types :

Latex 

You’ve probably all heard of latex before, it is the most traditional and most used material to make balloons. Latex is a form of really thick pliable plastic and is a neutral material. But is latex biodegradable? Well, latex can eventually biodegrade, however, this takes long periods of time and has probably caused much destruction before the point of decomposition. 

Mylar 

Mylar balloons, otherwise known as foil balloons, have become increasingly more popular nowadays as they are the materials that hold helium. The material is often shiny and made it over the top designs. The problem with mylar is that it is not recyclable nor biodegradable and extremely damaging for our planet.

Environmentally Friendly Alternatives To Balloon Release

Luckily, there are some alternatives we can use that are better for the environment and as entertaining for us. Firstly there are fully biodegradable balloons which would be the first choice if you want an experience that is as close as possible, the other option would be to replace your balloons with alternatives that, although not the same product, give off the same impression. Biodegradable balloons are better for the environment, but they are by no means great, this is because the material that they are made out of that allow them to decompose is slow releasing meaning it could take up to 6 months for it to fully biodegrade and thus can still damage the environment in many ways before that time. While many of them are classed as eco-friendly balloons, it is definitely not the best option when you are thinking about saving the environment. The best alternatives to latex balloons are actually not balloons at all, some many things you could replace a balloon release with include : 

Bubbles 

balloon release environmental impact

Many bubbles being blown simultaneously can give off a really great and celebratory effect. Although they are not as long-lasting as balloons, they do still float up into the sky and create a beautiful array. Nowadays, you can by blowing bubbles in all different shapes, sizes, and even colors, allowing you to really create a sight like no other. The best part about using bubbles instead of balloons is that the environmental impact is zero, so you can feel good about it afterward, too.

Kites 

Kites are almost a more permanent helium alternative to balloons, they are essentially the same thing but are attached to a person at all times, and can be controlled and reused. When you put a large amount f kites together, imagine the view in the sky. Flying kites is also a great way to get everyone involved in a hands-on manner and also get something to take home with them.

Confetti 

Another extravagant colorful thing you could use as one of your balloon release alternatives is confetti, confetti is both bright and colorful and although it does make a hell of a mess, there are many great brands that have created biodegradable options that are not bad for the environment and a great way to have some eco-friendly fun and celebrations.

Colorful Powders 

Making use of the colorful powders now available to us is another great way to a large and optical ceremony without causing harm to or environment. These types of powders are great as they can be exploded into the air using specially designed cannons and are a grand design used by many award-winning entertainment companies, to not only create an image of beauty but also to signify any occasion of your choice. 

Some other great helium alternative balloons ideas are : 

  • Planting pinwheels 
  • Using colorful powders
  • Floating candles 
  • Origami 
  • Planting trees 
  • Placing a memory plague 
  • Making a garden 
  • Hang fabric 
  • Wave flags 
  • Fly windsocks 
  • Burn and release paper
  • Create light jars 

FAQ

virginia balloon release law

Although we have touched base with many of the balloon release alternatives and why using balloons can be harmful to our environment, there is still a lot to be said about the problem as well as our overuse of it. Some of the most asked questions when it comes to balloon releases include: 

  1. Where to buy biodegradable balloons? Although biodegradable balloons are not always the most environmentally friendly option, if you are left without choice it’s definitely the way to go, you can find them in most party shops and are frequently featured on Amazons’ website where there are many providers. 
  1. How long do biodegradable balloons take to decompose? Most generic biodegradable balloons take approximately 6 months or longer to fully decompose into the earth. 
  1. Are latex balloons biodegradable? Only the best quality and natural latex is biodegradable, however, this will only happen over a long period of time. 
  1. What are compostable balloons? Unfortunately, compostable balloons simply do not exist, this is because the material they are made out of is highly processed and is often mixed with toxic chemicals.
  1. What is a helium substitute for balloons? The reason we use helium for balloons is that it is lighter than air which is what allows the balloon to float into the sky, hydrogen gas, as well as clean air, are both alternatives to helium however the effect will be slightly different.

At the End of the Day

You have now learned why releasing balloons bad for the environment and the devastating effects that can occur, but you have also learned of some really fun, creative, and equally eye-pleasing alternatives to balloon release that you could perhaps make use of in the future.

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