Often we are asked questions about balloons and the environment and balloons are considered environmentally unfriendly as artificial manufactured products.
Unfortunately, this is wrong because natural latex balloons are biodegradable and they are made of 100% organic natural latex which humanity knows for more than 1.000 years already.
Latex balloons are produced from the milky sap of the rubber tree, Hevea brasillensis. The rubber tree originated in the tropical forests of South America and was taken to Europe from Brazil - hence the Latin name. It is now grown on plantations in many tropical countries. The rubber tree grows for 17 years before it can be tapped into to extract latex. The latex is collected in buckets, as it drips from harmless cuts in the bark. The process is much like that used to collect maple syrup. The rubber tree has a life span of around 45 years. The use of latex balloons and other rubber products, make rubber trees economically valuable, which discourages people from cutting them down and provides valuable revenue to many third world countries.
Latex is a 100% Biodegradable, natural substance that breaks down both in sunlight and water and should never be confused with plastic. The degradation process begins almost immediately after a balloon is manufactured. Oxidation, the "frosting" that makes latex balloons look as if they are losing their color, is one of the first signs of the process. Exposure to sunlight quickens the process, but natural microorganisms attack natural rubber, even in the dark.
Research shows that under similar environmental conditions, latex balloons will biodegrade at about the same rate as a leaf from an oak tree. The actual total degradation time will vary depending on the precise conditions and can take up to 4 years.
FOIL BALLOONS ARE NOT BIODEGRADABLE
Foil/mylar balloons are made from plastic and have a printed metallic coating on the outside. They are not biodegradable, however, foil balloons are re-usable and we encourage our customers to deflate them after the event and retain for future use. They can be returned for a helium refill.
As environmentally conscious and responsible members of the community, we have developed the following environmental policy:
* No balloon releases. We do not support, or condone, nor will they facilitate the deliberate release of balloons.
* Promotion of the correct disposal of balloons. We recommend that spent balloons should be disposed of in a responsible manner, either in a compost heap where they will have the best conditions in which to biodegrade within a few months or in landfill waste where they will also break down safely.
* Inform and educate. We will actively promote the positive environmental aspects of balloons, while presenting a balanced view to members, the public and any authorities, on all matters pertaining to balloons and the environment