TJ and I grew up with Depression Era parents. We both learned to “reduce, reuse, recycle” before that was a popular phrase. I still have beautiful quilts that my grandmothers made from the better parts of their worn out clothes, and we jokingly refer to our decorating style as Early Dead Relative. TJ spent the past 2 days shredding our leaves so we can compost them or use them for mulch. Of course, more leaves have fallen over night and there’ll be more shredding to do. At any rate, you won’t find us in the garden center buying soil amendments since we make our own with yard and kitchen scraps.
Naturally, when I heard balloons were biodegradable I had to check it out for myself. I’ve been composting them for years now and have seen for myself that they truly do decompose. This year I even tried mulching with them. That wasn’t 1 of my better ideas! Fortunately I had limited my experiment to about 1 square foot in a hidden space. It looked messy and the weeds came right through. It was, however, an easy way to watch the decomposition. For those of you worried about birds and other wildlife, none of the balloon scraps seemed to disappear so I don’t think the animals were choking on them. None of our neighbors have little kids so we weren’t worried about them choking either.
Balloons are made from latex, the sap of a tree. If you want the details, check here: http://www.balloonhq.com/faq/making.html. As long as you stay away from the plastic or foil balloons and as long as you don’t use ribbon or foil in place of natural string (cotton), air-inflated balloons are a green option to brighten up your event.
At the beginning of the farmers market season (May, I think) I took a photo of fresh balloon scraps. Take a look at the collage to see what happened to them over the summer. Decomposition will slow down now that the weather is cooler, but if I move them to my main compost pile they’ll be rich soil by next spring. Want to make your own? Just have us at your next party, save the balloons, and add them to your own compost!