If you are an eco-conscious person in charge of picking out balloon centerpieces, you may wonder if there are eco-friendly variations available. You will be happy to know that there are several eco-friendly solutions that you can choose to implement that will allow you to have creative, fun centerpieces while causing little or no environmental damage. Below are some ideas you should keep in mind if you want your centerpieces to be as eco-friendly as possible.
Limit Your Helium Usage
Helium is used in many medical, technical, and research applications, and it is a limited resource. Many scientists call for the limiting or end of filling balloons with helium to make them float, but the Balloon Association claims that the helium used in balloons is not medical grade and is actually a byproduct of supplying medical grade or research grade helium. By limiting your helium usage and filling the majority of your balloons with air instead of helium, you can help take stress off of the helium market and keep balloon helium at the low percentage that it currently is. This does not mean that you cannot have any helium-filled balloons at your event, but you should consider other methods for hanging or suspending balloons as well.
Know Which Balloons Are Recyclable & Which Are Biodegradable
Foil balloons are recyclable but are not biodegradable. For this reason, foil balloons should never be released to float away and should instead be emptied and stored for reuse or recycled.
Alternatively, latex balloons are biodegradable but not recyclable. Certain latex balloons are specifically made to be thinner and biodegrade more quickly. However, the rate at which any latex balloon degrades is highly dependent on the weather and the original size of the pieces of the balloon. For this reason, you should consider adding your latex balloons to an active compost pile to speed up degradation.
Avoid Plastic Additions
Plastic additions to balloons, such as clips at the base of the balloon or weights on the end of a string, are usually not biodegradable and often not recyclable. Instead of these options, opt for hand-tied balloons and weights that can either be reused, recycled, or composted. For example, instead of using plastic weights for your centerpieces, you may opt to have your centerpieces tied to a glass vase or another decorative piece that you will reuse or return to the balloon supplier. Additionally, consider using paper ribbons instead of plastic strings for anchoring the balloons.
Have a Balloon Popping Party Instead of a Release Party
Although releasing a large number of balloons can be satisfying and interesting to watch, you should keep in mind that the more control you have over your balloon waste, the more likely that it will degrade quickly and not cause environmental harm. While research has been completed that shows small amounts of latex balloons released should do little harm to the environment, you cannot control how many parties in your area are releasing balloons and so it is best to not contribute to the buildup of latex in your immediate area. Instead, consider having a popping party to get rid of your balloons or hire your balloon supplier to dispose of the balloons properly.
If You Release, Make Sure You Release Individual Balloons
If you decide to release your balloons, you should not release foil balloons, you should remove any plastic attachments, and you should release individual balloons as opposed to clusters that are tied together. By releasing individual balloons as opposed to clusters, you help ensure that the balloon debris will be spread out over a large area as opposed to accumulating in one place. This will help the latex degrade quickly without building up to an amount that can harm wildlife.
Balloons can make an excellent addition to an event, but it is important to use them responsibly and ensure that your choices protect the environment.