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Eco-friendly alternatives to balloons

Balloons can be a real risk for our wildlife including fish, turtles, seabirds and more. In fact, a 2019 study found balloons are the deadliest plastic out there for seabirds.

When helium balloons are released into the atmosphere, as they reach a certain height they pop into this shape that looks a lot like a jellyfish.  Regular balloons are an issue as well.  

If they end up in the ocean, they won’t biodegrade and can be eaten by sealife or birds who mistake them for food.  Even though balloons represent only 2 percent of all plastics ingested by seabirds, they are responsible for 42 percent of plastic-related deaths.


So if you or your kids do have balloons (especially helium ones), please don't let them go and make sure they are disposed of properly into the rubbish once they are done.  Even better, ditch the balloons altogether and go for another option. 

Fortunately, there are eco-friendlier alternatives to balloons.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Tissue Paper Pompoms – For some color burst at parties or celebrations, these colorful tissue paper poof balls make beautiful hanging decorations. You can easily make your own and compost them when you’re done. 

     
  • Floating flowers – For some, the upward drifting of balloons gives them a sense of letting go, at a funeral or memorial service. Floating flowers down a calm stream can give you the same feeling. Locally grown, in season flowers are the best option to reduce carbon miles. See who has a garden you can raid.

 

 

  • Ribbon dancers and kites: Ribbon dancers and kites are just as beautiful and more engaging than balloons, as they require guests to twirl, run and move around. Plus they can take them home and keep them “forever” rather than litter them into the environment after 24 hours of decoration.  If you are crafty, you could make your own. 

   

 

  • Garden spinners and pinwheels: If you’re trying to draw attention to your party, event or place of business, colorful garden spinners or flashy pinwheels do the job just as well as balloons without killing birds. And while they aren’t always made of the most environmentally friendly parts, they can be used more than once.  

 

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