Balloons seem to be a staple at nearly every party you go to, but the more you learn about them, the more obvious it will become that they are terrible for the environment. Most are non-biodegradable, or at the very least take years to break down and disappear.
In the meantime animals can both be harmed by balloons that have been thrown away, which means that it’s best not to use them in the first place.
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Why Are Balloons So Bad for the environment
Balloons are bad for many reasons that a lot of people are not aware of. Below are a few of those reasons:
- Leaving old balloons around ins parks is considered littering. If you do put them in the garbage, they either don’t biodegrade or do so very slowly.
- There is a helium shortage. Helium-filled balloons are the worst because helium is in demand and is used in MRI scanners, space exploration, and other areas.
- They are harmful to wildlife. When animals eat balloons, internal blockages can occur that end up starving the animals to death.
Balloons are usually made out of either latex or mylar, and neither of these materials is 100% recyclable. Even natural latex balloons take years to decompose, causing damage to animals until that happens.
Some people claim you can recycle mylar balloons in certain instances, but that effort is usually a waste of time. It’s best not to buy balloons at all if you are aiming for a sustainable party.
10 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Balloons
There are some great eco-friendly alternatives to balloons at your next party, and some are items that you can make yourself. Below are 10 great eco-friendly alternatives to balloons.
1. Crepe Paper Hanging Garlands or Paper Chains
Paper chains are nice because you can make them in a variety of colors, which will immediately brighten up the room. You’ll have to make these yourself, of course, but that can be a very fun project for you and your family to take part in. Crepe paper garlands are also nice, and you don’t have to make them — just hang them up and forget about them!
Check out paper garlands on Amazon here.
2. Bunting or Banners
Bunting and banners can be sewn from fabric or made out of paper, which you can reuse and recycle. You can even choose to write or sew a unique message on them. If your child is into astronauts, you can even choose an astronaut theme to make them say “wow” every time that they see it.
Check out felt bunting on Amazon here.
Pompoms can be made with a number of materials, including tissue puffs, fabric, and paper. They add some pizzazz to the room by giving it some color, and they are super easy and fast to make.
For an easy option, check out bright party pom poms here on Amazon.
Streamers can be both great-looking and interactive. They can be used to decorate the room or attached to a stick so your kids can run around with them. They are super easy to make out paper or crepe.
The streamer materials come in many different colors, so it’s easy to make some that match the color theme of the party itself.
Check out bright streamers on Amazon here.
5. Herb Garland
A garland made out of herbs or flowers is the perfect item to hang up for a party. If you pick something that smells good like rosemary or lavender will give the room a great aroma that everyone will love.
6. Paper Flowers
Make your own or buy some great paper flowers. They can be made in all shapes, sizes, and designs, and the colors you can choose from are unlimited. The only thing that limits you when you make paper flowers is your imagination.
If it’s a kids’ party, they will definitely love their own kite. You can easily make your own kite out of recycled paper if you like, and you can make it in any shape or design you want. It may take some time to finish the project, but it’ll be well worth it in the end when you see the kids’ smiles.
Kites are a lot of fun for kids of all ages, are cheap to make and can be recycled if they are destroyed by the end of the party.
Check out DIY party kites here on Amazon.
8. Paper lanterns
Round paper lanterns can be purchased or made yourself, and they come in a huge variety of colors. They can be hung up with regular string and add a little oomph to any type of party you’re planning. Even better, at the end of the party, all you have to do is throw the paper in the recycle bin and that’s it.
Let’s face it; everyone loves bubbles! You can even make the bubble solution out of all-natural materials, such as an eco-friendly soap or washing liquid, water, and a little glycerin or honey. If you are making them yourself, try to get it done the day before your party so you have it ready to go.
You can easily make your own pinwheels out of paper straws and colored paper, both of which are recyclable. They only take a few steps to create and are super-fun for kids of all ages. You can use them as decoration or hand them out to the kids so they can play with them during the party.
This is yet another item that you can personalize to the party theme because there are so many choices regarding colors and designs.
Check out DIY paper pinwheels on Amazon here.
Alternatives to Balloon Releases
Balloon releases are a beautiful way to remember a loved one, but if you’d like a few suggestions that are better for the environment, here they are:
- Plant a tree in the person’s honor. You can plant a tree almost anywhere, and it’ll be there for a long time in honor of your loved one.
- Send some flower petals down the water of a lake or stream. This suggestion is both cheap and thoughtful, and the petals will look lovely on the water.
- Crochet “water” balloons. If the kids insist on throwing water balloons at the party, look out for crocheted water balloons. They are eco-friendly and can be used again and again.
- Seedballs. Also called seed bombs, they are small balls of seeds that people can take home with them and plant in honor of your loved one. When the seeds grow into plants, it’s a way to keep the memories of that person alive in everyone’s mind.
Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Balloons | Summary
With only a little bit of effort, it’s easy to come up with eco-friendly ways to remember someone or plan a party. There are lots of easy alternatives to balloons so try pinwheels, paper streamers or home-made bubbles to keep your party sustainable,
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.