In 1983, I twisted my first balloon animal and never thought about the environment. Well, that’s not true, as a child I lived through the gas shortages (oil embargo) of 1973-74 and when lines started to form at the pump, people started talking about alternative solutions and the impact on the environment. That might have been my first real introduction/discussion on the environment and recycling.
Since then, I’ve seen the advancement of balloon entertainment in the world. New designs incorporate items that are no longer biodegradable. Twisting balloons are 100% biodegradable. They are made from a natural product extracted from the Hevea Brasiliensis tree. This natural product is reported to deteriorate in a similar fashion to an oak leaf breaking down over time.
However, over the years plastic straws, headbands, plastic battery-operated lights, and confetti are being introduced into the balloon designs. Which as you know, plastic doesn’t deteriorate, it simply breaks down into smaller pieces.
I understand that compared to a fast-food franchise, the number of balloon straws being distributed to kids is so small compared to straws given with a drink, that it’s not a true apples-to-apples comparison, but, I do feel it warrants a discussion as entertainers; should we be consciously thinking about the trash we create as entertainers?
How much of an impact do these “extra” components really bring to the value of the design? I think you will agree, that these extra components are simply tossed away, going to some landfill once the child is done with it.
I know some will say, “they’ll keep the headbands”. But how many boys and adults do you really think will keep them? A handful? And what makes this simple plastic headband so special that a mother would spend the time to remove the balloon from a headband? She could just simply toss it in the trash. After all, the balloons are broken or deflated. From an aesthetic point of view it looks like trash, so why keep it?
I know what I would choose to do, avoid using these “extra” materials in my design. I’m not saying that I haven’t or that I won’t if a client requests it but, I avoid making it part of my regular arsenal of supplies.
What are your views on this?