Let’s talk about common misnomers in the balloon industry. Balloons often get thrown into the mix when people talk about single use plastics. The problem there is that most balloons aren’t actually plastic, they are latex.
The first rubber balloon was made by Professor Michael Faraday in 1824 to use in his experiments with hydrogen at the Royal Institution in London. He took two rubber sheets and cut them round. He then laid them together and put some flour in between them and pressed their edges together. Use of balloons can be dated back to the 1500's and were used to track weather. Balloons as we know them today weren't mass produced until the 1930's and they have come a long way in that time. From manufacturing ,to the colours, shapes and flexibility of the balloons which allows them to be twisted into everything imaginable... from the classic little dog to extravagant gowns.
When I got serious about starting a balloon company I did my research about balloons and the environment and came across PEBA. The Pro Environment Balloon Alliance. I became a member and I am in good company with other balloon professionals across the globe who take an oath of responsibilities to the environment. This association whilst self governing offers its members valuable educational resources. Members agree to spread the word of responsible enjoyment of balloons.
The number one take away was never release a helium balloon. The mantra goes "Pin it and Bin it". I don't use helium at the time of writing as I don't need it to make my key items being balloon mosaics, balloon hoops and balloon garland and backdrops. I also found that there is always some kid trying to suck the helium out at a party, they might be 15 or 50, there is always one. So not offering helium balloons eliminates that risk for me and the customer. I have also found that people are disappointed at the float time. Their expectations of how long the balloons will stay afloat vs how long they actually do are very often misaligned. Another misnomer is that it is taking away supply that hospitals use but that is not true. Helium used in balloons require a different gas as it is not pure enough for medical use.
Most balloons are made from natural rubber or latex which is biodegradable. Natural comes from Rubber Tree Plantations which are a renewable resource. The leading manufacturers source their latex from sustainable Rainforest Alliance Certified and
Forest Stewardship Council Plantations. The Rainforest Alliance are an international, non-profit organisation working to build strong forests, healthy agricultural landscapes and
thriving communities through creative and pragmatic collaboration.
By choosing to use Balloon Professionals and Artists and their use of latex balloons as their medium
of expression, you are making an environmentally and economically responsible
choice. This will lead to price differences. What you may see listed on some websites that sell balloons and garland kits for a ridiculously low price may be made of poor quality and these materials are the ones that can cause damage to the planet? You will never know when the unmarked package comes how that latex was sourced or what the manufacturing process is? By using high quality balloons and following the guidelines by PEBA, I can hold my head high and know that I am educating people about the industry and doing no harm to the planet.
So what are the safe practices-
For more information on the history.... http://www.historyofballoons.com/balloon-history/history-of-toy-balloon/