Is helium bad for the environment
Creating balloon displays without the need for helium is common.
Do we have any environmental concerns when celebrating a party ?
Much about the party business is not environmentally friendly. Plastic party-wear, plates, cups, banners, wrapping paper, chinese lanterns, fireworks, confetti canons and balloons are single use items. They are usually non-reusable, usually binned a few hours after purchasing, much of it un-recyclable and all degrading slower than the frowned upon plastic bag. Adding helium into the balloons, a resource that is finite and in demand by NHS and MRI scanners which can cause theses slow-eroding items to be floated and dumped into seas causing distress to wildlife. It makes you wonder how the industry has skipped from heavy tax or scrutinisation by authorities and lobby groups. To make matters even worse, helium is now sold in a disposable non-refillable tank as a DIY party option. Is helium bad for the environment ? The industry has been slow to re-act to claims of an industry with little concern to the environment.Especially when these items are non-essential. There is no word of planned changes. Balloon and party business owners trail a poor argument. Responses in the industry how include “…your not educated enough”. The experts and environmentalist have used social media to fight claims but not much has really changed nationally. Some regions have banned balloon releases but this is not seen as enough. Parts of Norway and Australia have answered the question “is helium bad for the environment” by banning all helium for use in balloons.
Is helium bad for the environment ?
Helium is a finite resource trapped within rocks. It is thought that extracting the helium is not damaging. It’s the demand of helium and the pollution effects of balloon being released that are the concerns. The use of helium hit the national media over the last 20 years with negative comments for being used within balloons. Some experts believe helium should only be used for essential services such as scanner used by hospitals.
There is an alternative that is free and has no effect on the environment.
Inflating with air has become more common due to the increased costs of using helium. Creating a stand with small air filled for balloons and standing a large foil balloon, also filled with air, can display balloons just as effectively without the need for helium. Although this alternative is becoming more popular, the use of helium continues to be used by millions for the party industry. The guardian has an article about the concerns over six years ago but the article never came to a ban. Numerous petitions have appeared in the UK that receive a low response from the public. It does seem that when enjoying and planning a feel-good party, the concerns of the environment seem to be obliterated from our brains. A concern that is at the fore-front however when we are sober and shopping for the daily food. Plastic bags, packaging and recycling seem to be a problem when shopping at the supermarket but never when party planning.
Some online balloon businesses have changed and now refuse to use helium but this is very few of the 1200 small businesses across the UK. The discussion will always continue.. is helium bad for the environment ?
Mcdonalds and the helium balloon
McDonalds restaurants have stopped using helium in a large percentage of its restaurants in the UK preferring air filled balloons. They have also replaced the plastic clip holder, that resembles a strong straw, with a cardboard holder that is re-cycle-able. On their website they state “… by replacing helium balloons … with stick balloons will help our customers have greater control over their disposal, and minimise the unplanned environmental consequences of a travelling helium balloon….”
Where does helium come from?
Helium is found trapped within rocks. A well can be created to tap into the rocks and extract the gas. Helium is in demand from aviation, rockets and hospitals. Some companies are moving away from extracting helium and the cost will increase.
It makes sense to use helium for life’s essentials and not for a party.
Creating great displays without the need for helium. Here’s how we suggest to use personalised balloons without the need for helium.
Is helium bad for the environment
Further Reading on Is helium bad for the environment ?
Should we ban balloons ? – Guardian Newspaper
Is it right to waste helium on party balloons? – BBC Website
How we’re wasting all our precious helium. A call for recycling – ZME Science Magazine
UPDATE May 2019 –
The BBC have opened a debate. They are asking their audience wheather we should use helium on their newsround website. Vote now on : https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/48237672