BALLOONS & THE ENVIRONMENT
Balloons can be categorised in to two different types, latex and foil. The difference between each type of balloon is important in understanding how they should be managed. Latex balloons are not plastic and are comprised of a natural rubber sap, which is biodegradable., minimal amounts of non-toxic coagulants and pigments. Natural Latex comes from Rubber Tree Plantations which are a renewable resource. Latex balloons are broken down by micro organisms in the soil, water and air over a period of approximately 1 year.
Foil balloons are made with Mylar nylon, often coated in a metallic finish and are available in a range of different sizes and shapes. Foil balloons aren’t bio-degradable and should not be released but be reused on a later date.
Latex is an organic vegetal resin composed of 60% rubber and 40% water presented as a white milky liquid with viscosity. Many tree species can produce latex but most of the latex for industrial use comes from the Heveas Brasiliensis, commonly known as the “crying tree”.
Latex is collected from the trees by cutting the trunks skin producing cuts of milimeters deep. When cutting, the tubs weep latex for about 2 hours through a spout which direct the liquid into a collection cup containing several drops of ammonia to avoid latex coagulation. After collecting, latex is centrifuged to increase its concentration and prepared in containers for the distribution to manufacturers.
Where does latex come from? Certainly, it’s a precious gift from nature coming from the world’s tropical regions. Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are the largest latex producers.
Yes, latex trees grow in the rain forests and latex harvesting discourages deforestation because latex producing trees are left intact, therefore the trees are not hurt during harvesting. Also the Heveas can produce latex for us to 40 years. Our supplier uses only pure natural latex so when you buy our balloons you are contributing to a friendly preserved earth as all our balloons are fully biodegradable. Research showed that a latex balloon biodegrades at the same time as an oak leaf.
When a latex balloon is released, it rises to roughly 8.5km. The helium in the balloon expands as it raises and as the temperature drops the balloon freezes. As the helium continues to expand in the frozen balloon, the balloon undergoes a process called “brittle fracturing” and shreds in to small pieces which scatter and fall to earth. A small proportion of balloons released will experience leaks from defects and will not undergo the “brittle fracturing” process but just fall back to earth and biodegrade. Balloons routes are usually determined by prevailing winds, which is west to east in Ireland and the average distribution of a balloon is 25 square kilometers
Wednesday 19th December, last date for orders online for Christmas & New Year. Dismiss