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Balloons & decorations

Swapping balloons and other single-use plastic party decorations for reusable and eco alternatives is the way to celebrate in style without having a devastating impact on the environment.

What you can do

Choose to refuse balloons and other single-use plastic party decorations. 

How you can do it

With a little bit of creativity, you can easily plan a party that’s free from balloons and other harmful single-use plastics. Popular decorations that can be reused time and time again, include bunting, tassels, tissue pom poms, lanterns, fresh flowers, and more.

Having a theme for your party can help you to draw inspiration for making your own, borrowing or buying reusable party decorations.

With crafting making a comeback, many people find it easy and fun to make decorations from old fabric and scrap paper, too. 

Friends and neighbours are a great source of reusable decorations or materials for that homemade creation. Before buying anything, simply put the word out and see what you can borrow. 

Many people use Facebook for finding decorations. Local groups – such as Buy Nothing – often have a bank of decorations available to share amongst the community.

Taking the next steps

Your zero waste, plastic free event is a great way to inspire others to celebrate without balloons and other harmful decorations. 

As the alternatives catch on you can start to advocate for your community to join those that already ban the release of balloons. You can add your voice to a local boycott group or start a petition at your school, workplace, club, or neighbourhood.

This is a great time to switch to popular alternatives to other single-use plastic party items, such as:

  • Swapping glitter for confetti made out of dried leaves.
  • Choosing paper lolly bags by sourcing treats from the bulk food store, or make gifts of crayons, chalk, seeds, plants, second hand books, and homemade playdough.
  • Disposable cups / plates / cutlery are easily replaced by reusable items borrowed from neighbours or friends. People who  have a lot of parties often invest in reusable bamboo sets. 
  • Choosing  to refuse single-use plastic water bottles can be as simple as filling a water jug or dispenser from the tap.
  • Opting for paper straws or reusable ones made from metal, glass, or bamboo. 

The impact

  • Celebrating without disposable plastics is a great way to empower others to care:
    • Plastics, including balloons and glitter, are easily blown down drains, into rivers and our ocean where they remain in the environment forever, even ‘biodegradable’ latex balloons.
    • Balloons are a choking hazard and can be fatal to children and animals.
    • Helium is a precious resource, needed for medical procedures, so it’s important to save it wherever possible.

More ideas

What others do

Glass of lemonade, bunch of straws and a plastic juice bottle

To find plastic free ideas, take the Plastic Free July challenge

Reusable carry bag, keep cups and bamboo cutlery
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