I can’t believe that I’m writing this. I mean here we are in 2023; I carry a computer in my pocket that can access information on any topic in a matter of seconds; we have a telescope taking portraits of Pluto; we MacGyvered a vaccine for a deadly new virus within a year instead of decades. And I have to write about balloons being bad for the environment. It’s like we haven’t learned anything.
Have you watched that disturbing video of some idjit popping the balloons covering a rather pretentious yacht directly into the water with zero bleeps to give? Said idjit is probably caring a bit more now because he got arrested. But I digress. Want to make yourself nauseous? Google balloon decorations on yachts. This is still a thing and not just in Florida. For that matter, massive balloon releases are still a thing with the Indy 500 being a prime offender. In fact the party balloon market is poised to hit 2.4 billion by 2030. Why tho?
Balloons are the damage level professional single use piece of plastic garbage. Let’s be clear, despite quite a bit of greenwashing by the industry, there are no eco-friendly balloons. They end up as litter that is easily ingested by wildlife; a recent study suggests that balloons are the number one cause of mortality in seabirds that have ingested plastics. They do not biodegrade for hundreds of years and even longer in sea water. Mylar is even worse. We fill them with helium - a very limited resource on Mother Earth - and that helium is lost to the atmosphere never to be recovered. We need helium - I was today years old when I learned that helium is why we have MRI technology - but hey, who needs life saving medical technology when you could talk funny and have a bouncy plaything that you’ll get bored with in ten minutes? And what goes up, must come down...likely, in the ocean or a tree ultimately ending up in the belly of an innocent animal.
You don’t need them for your graduation or wedding or yacht. You don’t. Yes, we’ve always done it - not really, they weren’t produced commercially until 1930 - it seems like we’ve always done it but we can stop. If we stop buying them, they will stop making them. Don’t buy them for your event, don’t buy them for anything. Just stop. Tell your high school prom committee to just stop. Tell your professional sports team to just stop. Tell your favorite theme park to just stop. Tell your stupid grocery store to JUST. STOP. Use your voice and your money to promote the change our planet so desperately needs. That dude in the video; I’m guessing he won’t be interested in balloons again.
If you simply must decorate for a celebration, there are loads of paper options that biodegrade and won't harm marine life. Still wasteful if tossed unless you plan to reuse, reuse, and reuse- which we hope you will!