How to Properly Recycle Your Balloons
We here at The Balloon Diaries try to be as environmentally conscious as possible. As part of that, we are acutely aware of the impact that improperly-discarded balloons can have on these efforts around the world. We were conflicted when we started this website because we didn't want to contribute to the destruction of the planet but we wanted to share our love of celebrating with balloons. We're not sure what sort of environmental education takes place in your country but in Canada we are taught from a young age about the Thee Rs - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.
We researched the topic a lot and found that balloons of all kinds can be reused or recycled after the celebration is over. We've provided ready-made kits to hopefully reduce the amount of balloons heading to landfills from buying too many to make your decor vision come to life.
If you want to celebrate with balloons, here are some ways to reduce their impact as much as possible:
1. DO NOT RELEASE BALLOONS INTO THE AIR
You might have heard that balloons are biodegradable, that they break down at the same rate as an Oak leaf, or that they burst into a million little pieces in the air and will cause no environmental impact after they land.
While it is true that latex balloons are made from Natural Rubber Latex (NRL) and not plastic, they're not harmless to the environment if thrown away improperly. Balloons (latex or mylar) must be disposed of responsibly the same as any household waste.
We are completely against releasing balloons into the air for many reasons. We were in Shifen, Taiwan a few years ago which is full of tourists buying flying lanterns to release. It all seemed harmless (we did not buy one) until we left the city to walk to the famous Shifen Waterfall. The stunningly picturesque hike was ruined by the sight of dozens of these lanterns that had landed in trees and rivers not far outside of the town. We could only imagine what impact that has on the local wildlife.
Please, please, please never release your balloons into the air no matter how "safe" you think it might be. Always dispose of balloons responsibly.
2. MOST FOIL BALLOONS CAN BE REUSED
One of the reasons we're big fans of foil balloons is that they can be carefully deflated and reused! We have a collection of pre-loved mylar balloons at home ready to be inflated at a moment's notice.
We have a foil champagne bottle balloon that has been used for birthdays, engagement parties, and New Year's Eve. A lot of balloons have so many uses that the money you're spending now is really an investment spread out over so many future events. The sturdy mylar material is great because it resists tearing to help extend the life of the balloon.
When the party is over, simply hold open the inflation point and gently press on the balloon to let all the air out. If you're having problems getting the spout open you can insert a metal straw and the air will come right out. You can then fold the balloon and store it until it's ready for it's next adventure!
3. CUT UP LATEX BALLOONS BEFORE DISCARDING
Unfortunately, latex balloons can only be loved by you once and will need to be properly discarded. They will eventually decompose but you can help that process along and make sure no animals ingest one by mistake.
Once all the bottles have been popped it's time to get all the balloons popped! Now that they're deflated, get out a sharp knife or scissors (safety first!) and cut them up into small pieces - about an inch or so in size - and make sure you cut up any ribbon you've used as well. Your balloons are now ready for safe disposal!
4. CHECK YOUR LOCAL RECYCLING RULES
In our city, latex and foil balloons cannot be recycled so they must be put into the trash. Every municipality has different rules on what-goes-where so please check your local rules before trashing or recycling your balloons. You will probably go to Google and search for What Can Be Recycled in My City?
We hope this post has given you some new information or has helped ease your mind about balloons and their impact on the environment. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions on the issue - we're here to help!
In the meantime, comment below with any other balloon disposal tips you might have and we'll add them to the list!
- The Balloon Diaries