Balloon releases are a fun idea, yes. But they're not the most environmentally friendly way to celebrate. Balloon releases have become more popular recently, especially for memorials, weddings and gender reveals. Everyone should know the consequences of releasing balloons & we can help you find alternatives that are just as fun!
Why should we stop doing balloon releases?
1. Because they are soft and malleable, latex balloons easily conform to an animal's stomach cavity or digestive tract and can cause obstruction, starvation and death. As a result, latex balloons are the deadliest form of marine debris for seabirds. They are 32 times more likely to kill than hard plastics when ingested. Balloons can travel thousands of miles and pollute the most remote and pristine places. Birds, whales, sea turtles, bighorn sheep, & other wild & domestic animals have been killed by balloons.
When an animal swallows a balloon, it can block its intestinal tract, leading to starvation. Ribbons & string that are sometimes attached to balloons can cause entanglement & death.
Sea turtles & other marine creatures are known to confuse balloons as jellies.
2. Balloons are a waste of Helium, a finite resource. Helium is a non-renewable resource & experts warn it should be conserved for more important applications.
3. Falsely-marketed as “biodegradable”, latex balloons contain chemicals & can take years to break down. Testing has shown that decomposition can take up to 4 years.
4. Mylar/foil balloons can cause dangerous power outages & spark fires. Mylar balloons are composed of synthetic nylon with a metallic coating. The metallic coating on Mylar balloons conducts electricity. Because of this, when a Mylar balloon comes in contact with a power line or floats into substation equipment it can cause a short circuit. This short circuit can lead to power outages, fires and possible injuries. They are non-biodegradable, and therefore altogether ill-advised.
What is Minted Peony Design Co. & Bomb City Balloon Bar doing to help?
A lot of our clients may find it odd when we take balloons back after an event instead of just popping them. We have a good reason for this. We have found a way to deflate latex balloons and reuse them for several events. This not only helps the environment, it helps us lower our costs. So by taking the balloons back, we are able to keep pricing lower for clients. In the 5 years we have been operating, only one client has opted to keep her balloons. You're always welcome to keep them if you ask for them. We state at the time of booking that balloons are considered rental items but we are happy to let you have them if you want!
Sometimes if a balloon is still intact but looks yucky, we will fill them with water or sand and make a balloon weight out of it.
P.S. We keep the balloons looking like new for each event using Balloon Shine. It shines them right back up! On average, our balloons see between 5-15 events before we put them in our compost bin! (yes, you can throw them in the compost bin. Latex balloons come from the sap of rubber trees, so don’t be afraid! Just put a few at a time, not a ton at once.
We recycle mylar balloons. These are easily deflated and can be reused for dozens of events before they deteriorate too much. Once the seal on them is broken or they are no longer holding air, we cut them into confetti pieces. No, you cant tell ;)
We RARELY use helium in our event setups. 99% of the time we use air-filled latex balloons. You do not need helium to have balloons at a party! We do offer helium for balloon bouquets in-store, but below we have listed out some examples of helium-free balloon options!
What other options do I have instead of doing a balloon release?
For a gender reveal, opt for a balloon weight. This keeps the balloons from flying away.
You can also do a tassel balloon tail which acts as a weight for one large balloon.
Or purchase a smoke bomb/cannon!
One of our most popular requests is for a Rosary release. This is definitely possible to do without "releasing" the balloons. Simply anchor it down to keep it from flying into power lines. It will still wave in the wind perfectly.
We do not suggest sky lanterns to be a good alternative. They have caused massive fires and are just as harmful to animals as balloons. Instead, for memorials, we suggest blowing bubbles, a candlelight vigil, or planting a plant in memory of your loved one (we personally did a rose bush, this is my favorite option because every time I see the roses I think of my great grandmother).
Weddings - throw rose petals, dried flowers and leaves, birdseed, do sparklers, there are countless environmentally safe options. Don't do any animal releases (does for example, we will get to that next).
This may seem "overdramatic" but I LOATHE dove releases. They are cruel. Here's why:
When you hear about a “dove release” or “wedding doves”, it usually means that Homing Pigeons, selectively bred to be all white, small and dove-like, were rented so as to be ceremoniously released.
THATS RIGHT. They aren't even really "doves". They are pigeons bred to look like doves.
The “dove release” business perpetuates the idea that white birds can be “set free” and they will just fly away and live happily ever after. That's not true. Even under the best of circumstances, these birds are hurt, lost and killed trying to get home.
White doves and other birds (like King Pigeons) sold to you have no survival skills and will suffer and die, bringing neither joy nor honor to any occasion. Releasing store-bought birds is both cruel and illegal.
These birds are DOMESTIC. They don't know how to survive in the wild. They are preyed upon by hawks, gulls, ravens, dogs, cats, raccoons, mean people and hit by cars if they don’t starve or die from disease. Their bright white color makes them stand out to prey, making them an easier target. They aren't white naturally, only in captivity.
This topic is not well known and education on it in the Panhandle is scarce. The only reason I know about it is thanks to my brother. He became interested in birds and has added a pair of doves to our family along with 2 pigeons. They make EXCELLENT pets, they're loyal, loving and gentle. They're clean and form attachments to humans. Doves do mate for life, I love watching Archimedes (male) and Ada (his wife) cuddle. He dances for her and brings her gifts. He loves to look at himself in the mirror, the only thing he love more than Ada is himself! Jelly and Bean are the 2 pigeons. They are my babies. Every time I go to my brothers house, Jelly will perch on my head and follow me around the house. She gets mad when I leave. I never thought I would like birds, let alone cuddle them and love them. These birds are smart and sweet, they don't deserve to be released to die.
Note: Cat saliva is poisonous to birds. There is a local wildlife rescue you can take a bird to should you see on in need of medical attention.
Overall, most of our clients opt for eco-friendly options. They're cost effective and provide our client with gorgeous decorations without the consequences on the environment.