Are Balloons Bad for The Environment? – Introduction:
We all love balloons because they are majestic and beautiful. So, when you think about decorating a special event or a celebration, the first thing that comes to your mind is balloons. They have become a party staple, and decorating colorful balloons is fun. But do they contribute anything positive to our environment?
Sadly, no, they aren’t as innocent as you think; that’s due to the potential negative impact they have on the environment and wildlife. Balloons are single-use disposables that become trash when they are cast into the air. These balloons then travel for miles before it descends as litter. Thus, it leads to environmental pollution.
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Balloons Environmental Impact – A Quick Fact
Did you know marine mammals and sea creatures can mistake balloons in the environment for food? Because these sea mammals mistake it for food and get entangled in the ribbons. As they ingest this plastic thinking as food, it blocks their digestive tract, which leads to starvation.
Thus, it causes severe damage to marine wildlife in particular. No matter how much we love these colorful balloons, when they are accidentally released during celebrations into the sky, they make their way into oceans and waterways, which are harmful to marine wildlife.
Are Hot Air Balloons Bad for The Environment?
Typically, Hot air balloons are made of latex and Mylar. Unfortunately, both materials take a long time to biodegrade. Although latex is termed as “biodegradable” and “recyclable,” that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe for the environment.
Hot air balloons releases tons of carbon dioxide when they fly through the atmosphere. The emissions of these balloons don’t stay in one place. They re-enter our atmosphere over and over again!
According to the studies, latex balloons can take 6 months, or you can even say up to 4 years, to decompose. And in seawater, they deteriorate even slower. There is no specific timeframe, as it depends on the conditions and added chemicals.
You might also know latex balloons as rubber balloons because they’re made of natural material from rubber trees. A rubber tree is an essential part of the rainforest. Unfortunately, these trees take a long time to grow, and they’re also being cut down faster than they can grow back. Therefore, it’s safest to avoid all types of balloons. However, you can consider Eco-friendly alternatives like tissue paper pom poms, lanterns, streamers, etc.
Are Mylar Balloons Bad for The Environment?
Mylar Balloons are also dangerous to wildlife. According to safeelectricity.org, when a Mylar balloon touches a power line, It causes a surge of electricity and leads to short circuits, leading to fires and outrages.
The technical name for Mylar is foil balloons; it is a lightweight and strong plastic film with a thin layer of aluminum foil on its top. This material is produced from stretched polyethylene terephthalate (PET). They are non-biodegradable due to their high tensile strength. Therefore, you can be able to stretch this balloon without having to worry about breaking it.
Mylar is a type of plastic that is not eco-friendly due to the material it’s made of. Generally, crude oil is refined to make plastic. The refining process also causes habitat loss, pollution, and water loss everywhere. Moreover, manufacturing this type of plastic results in heavy chemical usage. This also contributes to pollution as well as potential water and soil contamination.
Are Water Balloons Bad for The Environment?
One of the many claims we hear from time to time is that single-use water balloons are biodegradable, but is this really true? The answer is no because latex is used to make these water balloons, which don’t easily compost in freshwater or seawater.
A group of environmentalists says that water balloons, when carelessly disposed of, are bad for wildlife. However, water balloons are fun and easy to get your hands on, making you feel like a kid again. But they are not the best for the environment. There is some evidence that these colorful balls of rubber can be harmful to animals around the world.
Water balloons are often found in parks and open fields, where they can cause damage to the environment. They may get caught on trees, bushes, grasses, and other plants. Animals living in those areas may mistakenly consider them food, thus causing health problems.
Why Are Balloons Bad for The Environment?
Any type of balloon is bad for the environment because it takes a long time to degrade as they are made from plastic. For example, when composting, one study shows that latex balloons can take over 16 weeks to lose only 1-2% of their mass. So you can imagine how much time it will take to degrade fully.
That’s why balloons are bad for the environment because they contain some plastics that take more years to decompose. It can take more than a year for a balloon to decompose if it falls into the sea. Thus, becoming a significant hazard to animal and environmental life.
So next time you consider using balloons at an event, think about the environmental impact and opt for a more sustainable option!
Environmental impact comes not only from the balloon but also from what’s inside of them. Helium, the gas that makes balloons float, is a limited resource on earth. We’re depleting this valuable resource when we use helium to fill balloons.
Bottom line: Balloon product is not entirely biodegradable, even though it’s made from natural materials. They also pose a problem for wildlife if they are not disposed of properly. Because a balloon can stay aloft for weeks, drifting for miles before coming or lying down as litter.
You have several alternatives to choose from for balloons to enjoy your happiest events. Moreover, we don’t know whether or not balloons are going to be banned due to the negative impact it poses on the environment. But we do know that many of these balloons are manufactured from non-renewable resources, which are becoming extinct on our earth due to humankind’s own selfish reasons. In fact, there is a limited way to dispose of latex balloons because this type of material takes years to crumble into smaller pieces until they remain as microplastic pollution.
Even though balloons are a festive way of celebrating, no one wants to see the effects of polluting the environment and wildlife. Therefore, one can use different substitutes as balloon alternatives, such as giant bubbles, candles, paper flowers, pinwheels, etc.