Balloons make people happy, but they also kill wildlife. This happens because birds and mammals love the texture and look of these products. Biologists think of balloons as having the same look and feel (as they eat them) as jellyfish, slugs, clams, flowers, mushrooms or other food items found in nature. A secondary problem with balloon releases is the ribbons attached to them cause entanglements.
Biodegradable latex balloons do not break down fast enough to prevent wildlife deaths. These balloons just turn into a gummy chunk of gut clogging material.
Early in 2016, we went to remove tons of foam from Pritchard Island, SC. While on this uninhabited island we realized there were Mylar and latex balloons everywhere.
As a result, I decided to look into the industry. It did not take long to find out that Party City was the biggest seller of balloons and their parent company, Amscan, was one of the largest manufacturers.
I then contacted Amscan’s CEO, Jim Harrison, explained the problem and asked if he would help us work on the problem. Jim was extremely supportive of our efforts to prevent balloons from entering the environment in the future and cleaning up those that are already there.
Jim’s team immediately went to work and Party City has since launched a nationwide educational campaign directed at their balloon customers called “Show You Care, Keep It Out Of The Air”. It asks their customers to:
- NOT release their balloons into the air.
- Secure balloons with a weight.
- Deflate balloon after the event or use.
This addresses the problem. We need to prevent additional balloons from entering the environment. We do NOT need to pass any additional laws banning the product or use of balloons. Releasing balloons is littering and I do not believe there is a location in this country where someone releasing balloons cannot be cited and fined for littering.
The total balloon industry (balloons, helium gas, ribbons, balloon weights, special imprints, etc.) represents more than 10,000 jobs nationwide. There is no reason to put any of these people out of work and deprive others of the joy that balloons do bring to children and adults alike.
The small percentage of balloon customers who are trashing our environment need to be educated and stopped from doing so.
We sincerely thank and applaud Party City for leading the way in educating the public regarding balloon environmental responsibility.