If you're planning a memorial service, birthday or anniversary celebration, or other outdoor event that includes a ceremonial balloon release, you may be concerned about where your balloons may wind up at the end of their journey. Balloon releases have been criticized as harmful to the environment, particularly to wildlife that might inadvertently ingest popped balloons or become tangled in the string. Fortunately, there are several options that can allow you to celebrate as planned without releasing non-biodegradable balloons into the environment. Read on to learn more about your environmentally-friendly balloon release alternatives.
Natural latex balloons
While most commercially available balloons are made from synthetic latex or mylar, neither of which will decompose on its own, there are now balloons available that are made with natural (and biodegradeable) latex or even soy. These balloons look, feel, and function just like synthetic latex balloons, but upon landing and releasing their helium, they will quickly decompose. These balloons leave no trace of their existence once they've spent a few weeks decaying, and because they're made from the extracts of the rubber plant, they won't leach any potentially harmful chemicals or compounds into the soil.
You should be able to purchase natural latex balloons in a wide range of colors, ensuring that you have the perfect look for whatever event you're planning.
As an alternative to a synchronized balloon release, you may want to consider having participants write wishes, memories, or other thoughts on pieces of special paper, roll them into tubes, and set them alight. Unlike paper lanterns, which can continue to burn for some time as they fly through the air (posing a fire risk if nearby trees or shrubs have gone some time without water), these flying and flaming wishes will catch an updraft as they burn, quickly combusting while releasing minimal ash back down to the ground. These flying paper wishes can be a wonderful way to memorialize a deceased relative or celebrate a milestone without the traditional balloon release.
If your goal is to achieve the look of hundreds or thousands of spherical objects rising through the atmosphere, you may want to invest in some colored extra-strength bubbles. These bubbles are mixed from a formula that's heavy on the soap, allowing them to reach large sizes (and travel long distances) without bursting. Tinting this soapy mixture with natural food coloring can give you bubbles in a wide variety of colors, perfect for a mass bubble release.
Whatever you choose to do, a company like Life O' The Party will likely be able to help you celebrate in style.