In general, balloons are usually used for birthdays and parties, being able to find both plastic balloons inflated with air and balloons with helium, although balloons are also used as entertainment for the little ones, for example, buying them on walks and crowded squares. and giving it to the little ones as a temporary toy, as they will soon end up in the trash. How many times have we seen the release of balloons at an event, ending later in nature? This festive object that may seem harmless, can really make a big impact on the natural environment.
So do balloons pollute? This is a question that many people still wonder about. Therefore, in this interesting article by AgroCorrn, we will talk about the environmental impact and pollution of balloons, as well as aspects related to how much balloons pollute , which leads us to think why not use balloons at parties, and the possible alternatives to these.
- What are balloons made of
- How balloons affect the environment
- How long does it take for a balloon to degrade?
- Are there biodegradable balloons?
- Ecological alternatives to avoid balloons that pollute the environment
What are balloons made of
There are different types of balloons , so the composition of these changes depending on the balloon you are talking about. The balloons are made of the following materials :
- Polyurethane balloons : Balloons made of polyurethane, one of the most common types of plastics , were the first and are still used today.
- Latex balloons: made up of latex, a material extracted from a tree of the euphorbiaceae family . This material is extracted from the tree by making a cut in its bark, a liquid that is latex comes out of this cut. To make the balloons, latex is mixed with water and different chemicals to achieve the desired thickness and texture, and at the end, dye is added to give it color. Well, as you know, you can find balloons of all colors.
- Microfoil or polyamide balloons: these are those so striking and bright, increasingly common in decoration. This type of balloon is formed from synthetic polymers, and they are more expensive than latex ones, but the fact that they do not expand when inflated allows all kinds of shapes and designs to be made.
How balloons affect the environment
Before we think about releasing balloons at events, although it may be something beautiful and fun, we should ask ourselves where will these balloons end up? The answer is simple, these balloons will end up in the sea or on land, having harmful consequences for the water, soil and biodiversity of the area, because let’s not forget that there are also chemicals in the composition of the balloons. It must also be taken into account that in these releases the balloons can be a threat to birds; balloons can reach great heights and obstruct the flight paths of birds.
Although the environment in general is affected, the environmental impact of balloons mainly affects the animals that inhabit the affected ecosystems. These can be confused with food, so they end up ingesting them and as a consequence they can die from suffocation or also, as in the case of turtles, end up with clogged intestines, dying of starvation due to not being able to eat well or due to poisoning . In addition, they degrade the soil and water, causing them to lose quality and be harmful. Another big problem is that, sometimes, the balloons that are released always have objects such as letters, threads, plastic sticks, papers attached, which will also end up polluting the environment.
Here we comment in more detail on Pollution by plastics: causes, consequences and solutions and, more specifically, Plastics in the sea: causes, consequences and solutions .
How long does it take for a balloon to degrade?
Polyurethane balloons take up to 450 years to decompose, being highly dangerous for the environment and its fauna. Like microfoil balloons, they take hundreds of years to decompose.
On the other hand, latex balloons have an average degradation of up to a few years, it all depends on the environmental factors that influence their degradation. For example, in contact with air a latex balloon takes up to 2 or 3 months to degrade, however, if it is in contact with water it takes between 6 months and a few years .
Here we talk more about how long it takes for plastic to degrade and how long it takes for biodegradable plastic to degrade .
Are there biodegradable balloons?
There are biodegradable balloons, they are those that are composed of 100% natural latex and have not been treated with chemicals, since in that case they could not be considered as degradable.
Although 100% natural latex balloons are considered biodegradable balloons , we have already mentioned that they can take from a few months to several years to degrade , more than enough time for it to be ingested by an animal and can also contaminate water and land.
Ecological alternatives to avoid balloons that pollute the environment
An alternative to releasing balloons at parties does not really exist, since all those materials released into the air, no matter how biodegradable the materials used, in the time they degrade can be a source of pollution and danger to the environment. and its biodiversity.
However, to decorate a place where an event is to be held, always remember to use 100% natural latex balloons and once said event is over, collect them and deposit them in the organic waste container in your home. If you end up using polyurethane balloons in the end, at least make sure you pick them up and give them a second use, for example using them to create a work of art. It is always better to give them a second use, end up in the landfill.
Luckily, in many areas of the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, where the release of balloons was very frequent, laws are being implemented that prohibit this activity to end this problem.
Finally, we recommend these other AgroCorrn articles about these related topics:
If you want to read more articles similar to Do balloons pollute? , we recommend that you enter our Pollution category .
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