Updated: Oct 5
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Who wouldn't have a fun childhood memory of balloons?
Indeed, they are a fantastic festive addition to any celebration. Balloons are fun and beautiful and don't hurt your wallet when purchased. However, there is a dark side in this festive and fun party decoration. They are hurting our environment because they are not reusable, biodegradable, nor compostable, not even the biodegradable, "eco-friendly" balloons that you might have seen. The way balloons act in the environment is similar to plastic, they never decompose.
If you dive deep into the internet, like I have, you will find many, many, MANY articles about how harmful balloons are but also how they are not. I have done research on these bad boys over a year, and because no one, absolutely no one have not been able to proof those articles wrong, I have come into a conclusion that they are harmful to our precious planet.
Anyways, this article is not supposed to encourage you to acknowledge all the other, even more, beautiful options in the market. And if you decide to go with balloons, we recommend you to choose a balloon store that is responsible and part of PEBA (The Pro Environment Balloon Alliance). This industry association is encouraging all it's members to use balloons responsibly and fight against the idea of releasing balloons. So, if you MUST use balloons, at least please don't release them, and work with a balloon artist who is responsible with their work! I will shortly list here the environmental damages balloons can cause if you didn't know them already. Environmental Nature Center in California has put well together all the negative impacts balloons can cause.
When you release balloons they fly to the ocean and might end up as food for marine life. If this happens, it causes unnecessary and violent death. It's also good to acknowledge the toxins of these products can end up to our plates from the animal, which means that not only animals but also humans are affected.
Sometimes balloons travel long distances before landing and eventually might end up as a "food" for wildlife. There have been reports especially of birds eating litter thinking it's food.
If balloons don't end up as food for wildlife, it might end up as litter and it can take months, even years for balloons to decompose. That litter might be the end for some marine and wildlife even though they wouldn't eat it, for example, the animal might get stuck into it.
So how can we have beautiful decorations without balloons? Let's first think why balloons look so great.
they bring colors to the decoration
you can create intimate decoration entities with balloons
they are great "tool" for hiding unwanted parts in the venue
Now that we know the reasons why we are using balloons we can think of substitutes.
Here's a 4 creative solutions to replace balloons
1. Paper Lanterns, Honeycombs, Pom poms and Tassels The closest and easiest way must be paper lanterns, honeycombs, pom poms and tassels. You will find them in all colors, even printed, in different shapes and sizes. You can hang them from the ceiling so they look like they are floating in the air. Paper lanterns are also very easy to glue or tie together to make paper lantern walls or paper lantern centerpieces. Paper lanterns are a lot better choice over balloons! If you use them carefully, they can be reusable.
2. Candle Lanterns and Party Lights
Cotton banners and party lights as a very efficient product because it is reusable. Washing cotton banners has given us the chance to make them look new again and again. Candle lanterns are as well a creative substitute for balloons and will give your event a whole new look. By putting candles or a little light inside the lantern will give a glorious sparkle to your venue. For garden-style decoration put plants or flowers inside the lanterns.
3. Hang any items
Framed pictures or polaroids, toys, vintage umbrellas or almost any other items can be hanged from the ceiling. Your imagination is the only limit! When you are using items, of course, it is most effective when those items will be used again and not thrown away after your event. So consider giving these items as a gift to your guests before they leave the party. This would be, not only a creative way to hand party favors but also a good way to avoid unnecessary trash.
4. Flowers and Plants Flowers, leaves, and plants are most definitely growing trend. This idea has been a success for us because flowers and plants bring their own kind of livelihood and freshness to the decoration. In the end, your imagination is the limit. You can do anything, just be brave with your ideas.
Did you get any other ideas from this article? Share them with us below.