Latex balloons are not “biodegradable”

The balloon industry  has set “standards” for themselves claiming that releasing balloons that are hand-tied, so-called, “biodegradable” latex balloons without any attachments of ribbon is environmentally friendly. This is just a marketing gimmick to get people to litter with their product. The balloons pictured below were released to their standards. Some are months old, some are years old. Natural latex may be biodegradable, but after adding chemicals, plasticizers and artificial dyes, how natural could it be? It may degrade after several years, but it’s surely not “biodegradable.”

Balloon enthusiasts claim that when a balloon pops, it bursts into many little pieces, and that the pieces land far away from each other.

Another claim is that so-called “biodegradable” latex balloons take the same amount of time to decompose as an oak leaf does. This is very misleading; oak leaves are very durable and can take four years to decompose! That means the balloons have plenty of time to injure or kill. Many animals mistake burst so-called “biodegradable” latex balloons as food, causing intestinal blockage and death. The ribbons or string that is sometimes tied to balloons, whether it is “biodegradable” or not, will last years and can also entangle any animal that comes in contact with it. See Impacts on Wildlife & the Environment.