Balloon Alternatives: A Viable Option or Scam?
If you’ve tried to throw any kind of celebration on your eco-friendly journey, you’ve likely come across balloon alternatives. Balloons are infamously bad for the environment, yet they’re synonymous with celebrations.
Like many other eco-friendly alternatives to party decorations (read my blog on eco glitter here,) you should do your research on balloon alternatives before buying in.
So – are balloon alternatives a greenwashed scam or a legitimate option? Let’s dig in.
Why use an alternative to a plastic balloon?
Balloons usually end up as litter after the party is over. When released, on purpose or on accident, they can travel kilometers before coming back down and polluting the environment.
Once balloons become litter, they can kill unsuspecting animals. They can also cause dangerous power outages.
Balloons themselves are made from latex or foil. Natural latex comes from the sap of a tree, so they could naturally biodegrade. However, this can take about 2 years, and the material may hurt unsuspecting animals who come upon it.
In that time, wind and water can carry away an improperly disposed of balloon to the ocean, where it pollutes our water and can hurt aquatic animals.
Foil balloons are mylar plastic, which takes many years to break down naturally. Some recyclers take foil balloons while others don’t. Regardless, the majority of plastic doesn’t make it to the recycling plant even when properly disposed of.
Are balloon alternatives worthwhile?
The key to using balloon alternatives is to ensure that the balloons are made from 100% natural latex with no filler. Since natural latex is plant material, it can eventually biodegrade.
Most importantly, if you choose to use these types of balloon alternatives, you must compost them. This is the only way to ensure that they don’t eventually end up as litter, harming animals in the process.
Balloon releases are never eco-friendly, as you can’t guarantee that the balloons will be properly composted. If you can use and dispose of them properly, compostable balloons are okay. Avoiding them altogether, though, is the greenest option.
Three balloon alternatives
- Little Cherry – This company offers completely biodegradable balloons and other eco-friendly party supplies! Bonus: they’re made in the UK.
- Qualatex – The maker of these balloon alternatives guarantees 100% natural latex, made in the US and Canada.
- Tissue or cloth pompoms – A great balloon alternative is a tissue or cloth pompom. These provide the same round, cheerful shape, minus all the latex and foil. You can make your own or purchase them. I recommend making your own with materials you already have sitting around. Check out tutorials on making tissue pompoms and cloth pompoms.
Would you try any of these balloon alternatives? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think!
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