Who doesn’t like balloons?
We’re not talking about Zeppelins or big hot air balloons that can carry you up among the clouds, we’re talking about those ordinary everyday balloons that you see at any party or celebration. They’re great fun and they enhance any space with brightness and color. They’re easily set up and easily taken down. Children love to play with them. Even when they get popped it’s no big deal, just find another. Popping balloons can be fun too. So many games to play with balloons. You can also fill balloons with helium and release them to float away into the sky. That’s entertaining, beautiful and impressive too. Just good and harmless fun with balloons, right? But wait, what do you do with spent and broken balloons after the party?
Some things to know about balloons:
- Make sure that they are put into the trash; they are not recyclable.
- Animals, birds and fish get sick or choke when they try to eat balloon fragments.
- Small creatures can drown when they get entangled in trailing ribbon or string. It’s true of pets, but it’s much more of a problem for wild animals; they often die as a result.
- Animals will eat partially inflated balloons, thinking that they’re food. A balloon can clog the digestive tract, leading to starvation and likely to eventual death.
- Latex balloons are biodegradable, mylar or foil balloons are not.
- Latex balloons will generally degrade within 6 months but can survive for over 5 years.
Some tips for safeguarding the environment:
- Keep balloons inside if possible.
- If balloons are to go home with children, tie them to their wrist or have an adult carry the balloon.
- Never release a balloon outside. Even with biodegradable balloons, they are a serious risk to wildlife and marine environments.
- When you plan to dispose of the balloons, deflate the balloons before putting them in the garbage.
- Spent balloons should be disposed of in a responsible manner, either in a compost heap where they will have the best conditions in which to biodegrade within a few months, or in landfill waste where they will also break down safely.
- Use natural raffia ribbon because it is compostable, particularly if it has been dyed with natural dyes.