Guide to Biodegradable Balloons (UK)

Balloons

Balloons are an important feature at many parties and celebrations, but they can have a very negative impact on wildlife and the environment.

The magical moment of watching balloons float away is fleeting when compared with the long-term damage they can do.

In this article, we’ll explain why it’s necessary to switch to biodegradable balloons and share a list of the best places to buy biodegradable balloons in the UK.

Why Switch to Biodegradable Balloons?

Regular balloons take a long time to break down, which means that balloon releases are very bad for the environment.

With the popularity of balloon releases increasing among schools and charities for publicity, there have been pleas from The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) for organisations to find an alternative method, urging the public to support local bans on balloon releases after the increase of balloon litter has risen by 50% in the last few years.

The balloon association (NABAS) have released ethical guidelines for balloon releases to ensure minimal environmental damage.

Traditionally balloons are made from latex, a product of the rubber sap tree, which can take years to decompose.

This means that not only do they contribute to landfill but are a threat to wildlife that might eat and get caught up in the debris left behind.

While there is a dispute about whether latex can kill animals, the MCS have photographs of animals that have been affected.

The potential danger to wildlife occurs when a balloon is inflated incorrectly, making it unable to reach the necessary height for it to shatter into small enough pieces.

When larger pieces of deflated balloons litter the oceans and landscapes, we have little control over where they land and what animals may become entangled in them.

The good news is that there are biodegradable options available, so you can celebrate guilt-free, knowing that these balloons will have less impact on the environment. Bear in mind that they should still be disposed of at home rather than released, as even biodegradable balloons can harm wildlife.

Where to Buy Biodegradable Balloons in the UK

LittleCherry.co.uk

UK-based Little Cherry sell a range of eco-friendly party supplies, including biodegradable balloons and ribbon.

Their balloons are made from a natural, organic latex which is a completely biodegradable material.

Little Cherry offer personalised printing services for individualised balloons using natural dyes.

Although they are biodegradable, Little Cherry recommend responsible disposal of their products and advise against balloon releases, which they say are still harmful, even with this material.

Their biodegradable balloons degrade best in compostable conditions, only taking a few months to break down.

This means you can safely place your old balloons in your own garden compost, knowing there will be no negative environmental impact.

 

FairKindChild.co.uk

Fair Kind Child offer a selection of multi-coloured balloons, or marbled. Their balloons are made from high-quality natural latex and come in compostable packaging.

Made in the UK, Fair Kind Child use latex sourced from approved suppliers that have sustainable rubber plantation management.

A great alterative to rubber balloons, the colours they use are non-toxic and are made from organic pigments instead of dyes.

These balloons are also best disposed of on the household compost heap but will also safely degrade in landfill.

 

Ebay

There is a wide variety of biodegradable balloons on Ebay. With the benefit of being able to buy large quantities, this option would suit businesses particularly well.

Available options include different shapes and colours that are tailored for different occasions. The only downside is that there is often limited information about suppliers.

2 thoughts on “Guide to Biodegradable Balloons (UK)”

  1. There’s no such thing as a safe balloon release, and “biodegradable” balloons are just basically the same old simple latex balloons with added marketing. Balloons still take months or years to break down in the natural environment, and in that time they litter the UK’s beaches and kill wildlife. A study this year by the University of Tasmania (a world leading oceanographic institution) found that balloons are the most dangerous form of debris ingested by seabirds, 32 times more lethal than hard plastic.

    The NABAS “guidelines” are deeply flawed, being based on a single 1989 study by a balloon vendor that was published by a balloon performers’ association, and never featured in any peer reviewed journal.

    Please be more responsible with your guidance and check the basis of what you quote more carefully. My own family picked up over 100 balloons off our local beach in Kent last year alone, almost all of them made of allegedly “biodegradable” latex. They’re a major problem.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. This article doesn’t condone balloon releases, and we have written about how no balloon releases are completely safe for wildlife. The balloons discussed here should all be disposed of safely at home.

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