Should balloon entertainers be more environmentally friendly?

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 to 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 which 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 way, 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?

5 Comments

  • Moonshine says:

    Very good point about the headbands. We’re supposed to educate the public about plastic and yet many people use plastic headbands. I’m only using metal headbands now.

  • Joshua Kamradt says:

    This is a great topic, and one that is very relevant to the world we are living in right now. In full admission, I have used balloon straws, hairbands, and other non-biodegradable products in the past, but I have since stopped entirely. Too many parents AND children are now engaging in the “all balloons are plastic, and plastic is bad” these days, and I have had to spend time explaining that the latex I use for my balloons breaks down naturally, and when disposed of in a responsible manner, have very-little-to-no impact on the environment. Luckily, there are some good websites you can point them to to get more information, and to back up what you tell them.

    I can never use the little LED lights for two reasons… 1) they are too much of a choking hazard, and 2) the environmental damage from this single item is staggering, from the plastic that never breaks down, to the batteries and electronics components that leech poisons and pollutants into the soil and surrounding ecosystem. I just cant.

    Does all of this limit my designs? You betcha! Do they ever! On top of that, i am not nearly as creative as many others are, so coming up with alternative solutions is not my strong-suit.

    In the end, I may not be as dynamic as other twisters, but I feel like our profession is meant to make the world a better place for the children (and children-at-heart)… I can’t help them by adding to the poisoning of the world, just so I can make more money. We need to find better solutions.

  • Marsha Gallagher says:

    I bought a bunch of hairbands a few years ago and havenwvwr convinced myself to use them for just the reasons you mention. They have a very limited use and comtribute to pollution. I love the look of balloons with lights but have chosen not to use them either. Each one of us is responsible for our planet. Please do what you can to protect all life.

  • I use ponytail bands to make characters that can go on childrens’ hands, instead of lugging headbands around. Headband designs are cute, but they just never did it for me as workers.

    To each his own, though.

    Carrie

  • I know of people who use ponytail holder too. One person uses rubberbands as they are cheaper and made from rubber.

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