The problem with balloons
Balloons have become a synonymous with parties; they are often the go-to party decoration. They are colourful and fun. Many of us will have happy childhood memories of chasing a balloon.
However there’s an ugly side to balloons that many of us aren’t aware of.
When balloons enter the environment they can become deadly to wildlife.
Animals may become entangled in balloon debris and string. This may mean they can't move or fly, or hunt for food.
Wildlife often mistakes balloon litter for food. After ingesting a balloon it can cause blockages in the animal's digestive system from which they will likely die. This is common in seabirds, turtles and dolphins but also terrestrial animals like cows.
Where does balloon litter come from?
The balloons that cause harm are the ones that have ended up as litter in the environment.
This can be balloon litter from balloons deliberately released, perhaps as a celebration.
But balloon litter also occurs when poor waste management allows the balloons we carefully put in the bin to escape into the environment. There can be no guarantee that our balloons won’t end up as litter and become an appealing lunch to an animal. And balloon marine litter is growing .
In the UK, balloon releases are banned by some local authorises. There is a list on the Marine Conservation Society website.
The group No Balloon Release Australia are campaigning to end balloon litter from balloon releases. Read about their story in our blog post here.
What about biodegradable balloons?
Latex balloons can be advertised as biodegradable as they are made of a natural material. While they may eventually break down, this could take up to four years . This is more than enough time for balloon litter to endanger an animal.
For the facts about balloons visit Balloonsblow.org
What are the alternative to balloons?
Is it still possible to have amazing party decorations without balloons? Absolutely. We definitely don't want to spoil the fun, which is why we've put together a list of alternative ways to decorate for a party without balloons. Discover eco-friendly party decorations ideas on our blog.