Groovyballoons is a family owned and run business, We are Balloon professionals. We are part of BASAVic and We are also a member of the Pro Environment Balloon Alliance. We support the banning of balloon releases. However we are not for banning balloons, especially latex balloons. Obviously we have our business to protect, but even in that, you do not go into balloons for the money, you go in because you love the work. Its our passion to make wonderful things from balloons.
In that we agree that balloon litter is a bad thing. Balloons that are released to the wild can cause harm before they degrade. Even cotton string can cause harm if released before it degrades.
We all want to fight the misuse of the balloons and get the litter off the beaches.
First of all a bit on how balloons are made. The highest quality balloons are made with latex and a bit of dye, (Not sure what that dye is based off of, but that is something I am looking into) The latex is harvested from the rubber tree located on a plantation, in the rain forest. Some of these even have other wild trees growing in between helping sustain the natural wildlife populations. One of the largest brands, Qualatex sources there latex from Rain Forest Alliance Certified Plantations. These plantations help pull carbon out of the air, and are protected from ranchers who want to destroy them for cattle farming.
The latex is gathered much like tapping a maple tree and it does not harm the tree. These plantations help keep the ranchers who want to simply burn down the forest to raise cattle at bay. They help pull carbon out of the air, and they help save the rain forest and are biodegradable. Here is a cool video on the process http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eof2XtF94po
No plastic is used 🙂 A
I have read every study I can on the biodegradability of balloons, even ones hosted on the balloons blow website, found here
and found that they all degrade. How long it takes varies according to environment, dry, wet, in fresh or salt water etc. However they do all eventually degrade.
Now like anything else, its best that they never enter into the environment but are properly disposed of, with a best solution being composting them.
Yes you can compost all latex items, balloons, gloves and even condoms. But you do not have to take my word for it, here is a list of non balloon websites that state that you can compost latex.
As for helium MRI machines use liquid helium. Liquid helium has a low boil point and quite a bit of it boils off during transfer .The helium that boils off in the process is often captured and sold as balloon/lifting gas. Yes, it is possible to refine this captured gas and re-liquefy it for use in MRI machines, but the cost of this is so high, that they would take a financial loss to do this. Instead they sell it for balloons, airships, weather balloons and the like.
Also helium is not as finite of a resource as you may have been led to believe.
We have a production shortage, not a supply shortage. Helium is found alongside natural gas and has historically been primarily sourced as a by product of natural gas refining along with a with a few accidental pure helium finds as well. Matter of fact there are some natural gas producers who do not find it economically worth while to capture and sale it, so they just release it into the atmosphere.
Also according to John Hamak at the Bureau of Land Management whom I contacted on this, party/decor balloons account for less then 1 percent of all helium usage.
The other thing is that Helium is actual constantly being created, albeit slowly from the radio active decay of elements such as uranium. This gas slowly raises up to the surface and gets trapped in pockets.
The crazy thing is, up until only a few years ago, no one actually looked to find these pockets, we have only be using byproduct helium. But a few people and companies started to look for helium and found a massive supply in Tanzania, and now another one in Tibet.
So eventually all the easy access Helium may be gone, just as oil is. However since helium is a product of radioactive decay there are some hopes that it may be possible to generate it from the fusion reactors that are being researched at the moment. No guarantees on that front however.
But last I checked we had over a 300 year supply and growing.
So to sum up, littering is bad, balloon releases are bad, and we need to fight litter and educate people on the damage they cause.
But we do not need to ban balloons, especially latex balloons.
Oh and by the way, I only use helium between 10 and 20% of the time. My biggest seller is a balloon column built on a reusable metal lamp stand and they do not move, they are popped and disposed of. I am going to try to work with my local composting plant to start taking them in, and promote the composting of them here locally.
So lets team up to fight litter and debris 🙂
How it’s made, Balloons
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