I pick up beach trash about 5 days a week and one of the items I find on a daily basis is balloons, both latex and mylar. The problem as I see it, is not so much the latex balloons, it’s the Mylar and the ribbons, bows, string etc.. that go with balloons.
I Just got to Eco Ya
- Latex Balloons are made with latex from Rubber Trees. According to balloon experts Latex is 100% biodegradable when exposed to the elements.
- Latex Balloons can be released into the air. According to the experts when Latex Balloons rise and reach an altitude of 28,000 feet they shatter
- Mylar Balloons are non- biodegradable and should not be be released.
- According to Readers Digest over 1 billion balloons are sent up every year. (Source)
- According to the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a total of 211 power outages in California in 2007 were caused by Mylar balloons which came into contact with phone wires. The outages affected 143,000 customers of PG&E. In San Mateo County alone last year, there were 17 metallic balloon-related outages, and 10,000 PG&E customers were affected. (Source)
OK, I got that, but here are my concerns:
1.) According to the Balloon Council: the littering of balloons is minor compared to other types of trash. I agree with that statement, but litter is litter, why is it OK to litter balloon because they are biodegradable?
2.) The percentage of breakdown between mylar and latex is about 70% Mylar.. which is not good for the environment. at all. People will not tell the difference.
3.) Even if it takes a year for a balloon to biodegrade.. when it looks like a jelly fish, it will be eaten in less than a year.. Your point is not taken well.
4.) What about all the other decor on balloons, the string, the ribbons the toys.. which are NOT biodegradable.
5.) While balloons ‘supposely’ rarely have been found in marine animals stomach, take a walk on the beach and watch seagulls picking at brightly colored pieces of balloons. Photo Source I just don’t believe that.
6.) Apparently there is concerns about a mass balloon release, but it’s not about the mass releases, it’s the everyday use of balloons and proper disposal. What goes up must come down and where will it land? Statistically in our already endangered oceans.
7.) My last point- what is so great about balloons? Why do you feel the need to celebrate with balloons? They are expensive, big carbon footprints, most are only used 1x and why?
Ways to Reuse Balloons The ideal choice if you are going to use balloons to use latex and dispose of them properly as well as the strings and ribbons that go along with it. If using mylar, you can reuse Mylar in many ways:
1.) Take to hospitals and rest homes to let others enjoy.
2.) Reuse as gift wrapping on other presents
3.) Keep and reuse again at another part.
4.) Keep and reuse as packing material.
5.) Cut up and reuse in scrapbooking, collages and other art projects.
6.) Cut in Strips and use to deter birds off of plants/
7.) Reuse to make accessories See Link
8.) Cut into Strips and used for tinsel on your Christmas Tree.
9.) Make Recycled Balloon Flowers
10.) You can take the same concept here and make a dress.
11.) You can fuse together and make a birthday tablecloth
12.) Make Balloon bracelets
- Balloons Galore
- Balloon Link
- ABC Balloon Decorating
- The Balloon Council (Last update was in 2001) so the information is very old.
- Non-Toxic Kids
- Marine Conservation Society