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14 of the Best Eco Friendly Balloons and Balloon Alternatives

Balloons are a key element for many at a party, but do you know how harmful they can be for the environment? One of the biggest arguments against balloons is the threat they pose to wildlife. Many animals, birds, and marine life will try to eat balloons and this can lead to serious problems. A deflated balloon can cause wildlife to suffocate or create blockages in the digestive system. To put it plainly, balloons can kill! According to one study, balloons are the highest-risk plastic debris item for seabirds. However, there are alternatives. We’ve rounded up the best eco friendly balloons and balloon alternatives so your party can still go off with a bang!

Eco Friendly Balloons – Are they really safe?

There are plenty of companies that offer something called biodegradable balloons, but are they as green as they make out to be? Many of these eco friendly balloons are made from natural and sustainably sourced latex which is said to be biodegradable. Surely this sounds a lot better for the environment, right?

Woman holding eco friendly balloons

Well, yes and no. These eco friendly balloons are thought to biodegrade in around six months, and even quicker if exposed to direct sunlight and heat. However, the Balloons Blow nonprofit seem to disprove this theory with their own backyard biodegradability test. There is also the argument that even if they do biodegrade, wildlife can still get to them before they’ve broken down. 

Where to buy eco friendly balloons in the UK

That being said, there are some ways you can still opt for biodegradable balloons at your party. Some companies do offer them for sale, such as BalloonsGalore, Click4Balloons, and many other party shops. Other companies such as Little Cherry, pride themselves in on selling eco-friendly party supplies. They offer eco friendly balloons and ribbons, which are biodegradable.

Looking at eco friendly balloons and balloon alternatives

If you want to go down this route, however, then it’s vitally important you dispose of them properly. Particularly to avoid any wildlife getting to them. A covered compost heap is recommended, so that no animals or birds can get to it.

Eco friendly balloon alternatives

If you don’t want to risk biodegradable balloons and the potential harm they can cause, then there are plenty of amazing alternatives instead. If you’re searching for eco friendly balloons and have decided against them, give one of these a try at your next party.

1. Bunting

If you have some leftover fabric scraps lying around, bunting is the perfect eco-friendly alternative to balloons. If you don’t have any fabric scraps, consider that pile of clothes you keep promising yourself you’ll donate or get rid of. Simply find colours or patterns that suit your party theme and get sewing

2. Paper Flowers

There are so many different ways to make paper flowers, you could make dozens of different ones and dot them all around your party area. Use scraps of paper you already have or invest in some recycled craft paper. You’ll find plenty of videos on YouTube showing you how it’s done!

3. Banners

You have a couple of options when it comes to banners for you party. You could make your own with large pieces of paper or leftover card. Alternatively, you’ll find several companies that make eco friendly banners that are recyclable – free from any PVC that you’d usually find in this kind of decoration. If you’re not feeling crafty, buying an eco friendly banner could be the solution!

4. Pompoms

Pompoms are the perfect eco friendly alternative to balloons, because they still provide that burst of colour without the damaging aftereffects. You can make pompoms for your party using several different materials. Tissue paper is most common, but some people like to make them out of scrap fabric, too.

5. Pinwheels

If your party is going to be outside in the summer, then dotting around some pinwheels could really brighten the garden up! They are really easy to make and look adorable when the breeze catches them. If you have little ones coming to the party then offer them out as an alternative to party bag treats.

6. Bubbles

It doesn’t matter how old you are, there’s no denying that bubbles bring out anyone’s inner child. There’s just something so therapeutic about blowing bubbles! You can make your own non-toxic bubbles from washing up liquid and water, with the option of adding glycerine if you want the bubbles to last longer. 

7. Paper chains

These are some of the easiest eco friendly balloon alternatives to make, meaning you can rope in the whole family. You can go traditional paper chain or spruce things up with different shapes and patterns. How about paper snowflakes for a Christmas party? We also like these fancy-looking ones!

8. Ribbon dancers

Ribbon dancers, ribbon wands, whatever you want to call them, they’re a lot of fun for both adults and kids at a party. All you need is a long stick and some ribbon to make them work, so it’s minimal effort on your part too. You can use scraps or biodegradable ribbon to ensure they’re eco-friendly.

9. Kites

Kites are yet another craft project you can make for your eco friendly party, but there are also a few companies that sell eco kites too – like the Kite Company. Kites are fantastic alternatives to balloons, because they still fly in the sky, just without the harmful plastic. 

10. Rag garlands

Rag garlands look absolutely stunning and can be used party after party. In fact, people will probably want to borrow them for their own party. Just one quick look on Pinterest should give you an insight into how amazing they can look, and how they’re all so different too. 

11. Streamers

This is yet another simple yet effective way to add some colour to your party, without having to resort to balloons. Paper streamers are nice and easy to make and won’t harm the environment. It’s a win-win! We really like the oversize ones they show you how to make here.

12. Hanging vases 

If you’re anything like us, you’ll probably be collecting all sorts of glass bottles and jars. Now is the time to put them to use, by hanging them all around your party area. Use some twine or string to hold them in place, then fill with flowers – or anything you like, really! This is easily one of the most beautiful alternatives to balloons.

13. Paper lanterns

Now, we’re NOT talking Chinese paper lanterns that you let loose in the sky. These are just as harmful as balloons and definitely not environmentally friendly. However, you can buy or make some pretty paper lanterns that are eco-friendly. Just please don’t release them into the sky. Hang them up around your party area, just like you would do balloons.

14. Reusable water balloons 

This is another fun idea for garden parties. Want to turn your party into a water fight or just need to keep the little ones entertained? How about crocheting some reusable water balloons. All you need is a bucket of water for them to be soaked in and you can use them time and time again.

So, while eco friendly balloons are thought to exist, perhaps it’s safer and easier to use balloon alternatives instead. This way, you know that you won’t be harming the planet or the wildlife at all. Remember, if you do opt for biodegradable balloons then you must dispose of them correctly to keep them away from animals, birds, and marine life. 

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