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Are Balloons Recyclable? How Do You Properly Dispose of Them?


You’ve just hosted an amazing party, full of laughs and lots of happy moments. The only problem? Cleaning up afterward. And that means getting rid of those pesky balloons. Balloons are a lot more useful than you might think. You can reuse them for all kinds of things, from décor to DIY projects like wreaths or centerpieces for future parties. But can they be recycled? Are they biodegradable? And how do you dispose of them properly?

Though some balloons are made of plastic (which is usually recyclable), many are made of latex or foil/mylar. In this post, you’ll learn everything there is to know about disposing of used balloons without pitching them in the trash.

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How to Dispose of Latex Balloons

a green plastic trash garbage recycling bin
Image By: Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay

Latex balloons are biodegradable. In fact, they can break down naturally after just a few weeks. These balloons can be composted or put into your green waste bin. You can also put them in your recycling bin to be transformed into new latex products such as garden furniture or sponges, believe it or not.

Latex balloons are not biohazardous. However, they can present a choking hazard to animals. To be safe, put the balloons in a sealed bag before throwing them in your green waste bin or your recycling bin. Latex balloons are the most common type of balloon used for parties and other festivities.

While they are biodegradable, they can pose a serious threat to wildlife if they are disposed of improperly. So, if you have a large party and plan on disposing of your balloons outdoors instead of recycling them, it’s highly recommended that you don’t use latex balloons as they can be ingested by birds and wildlife.

How to Dispose of Foil/Mylar Balloons

And then there are foil/mylar balloons. Mylar is not a biodegradable material for the most part. It’s a specialized form of plastic and may or may not be recyclable, and the mylar material is backed by foil to give the balloons their shiny appearance. It just depends on whether your local recycling program accepts them because the foil and mylar have to be separated from each other in order to be recycled properly. You can always check the label on the balloons (if there is one) to see if they are recyclable, then check with your local recycling program to see if they accept them. Th

It’s recommended that you put your foil balloons in a sealed bag before throwing them in your regular trash can outdoors. Like latex balloons, they pose a threat to wildlife if they are littered and can be harmful if exposed to the environment. Wildlife experts recommend that you don’t use foil balloons if you’re hosting a party outdoors and plan on disposing of your balloons in an open area.

The 6 Creative Ways to Repurpose Your Used Balloons

If you can’t stand the thought of tossing your balloons or would rather not or can’t recycle them, there are ways that you can repurpose them.  Let’s look at a few ways that you can turn them into something completely new.

1. Make a Balloon Wreath

balloon wreath
Image Credit: Med Photo Studio, Shutterstock

If you’re looking to create a wreath that is a little more festive, try repurposing your used balloons to make a balloon wreath. Simply tie the balloons together to create a wreath shape, and then add some festive decorations such as pine cones, Christmas ribbons, or even small fairy lights.

This is a great way to make use of old decorations or to quickly create a Christmas wreath if you’re hosting a party and don’t have enough time to buy a new one. And if you’re looking to make a smaller version for indoor decoration, you can try folding the used balloons in half and then tying them together with string or ribbon to form a ring shape. You can then add a small festive decoration in the center or hang a small Christmas lantern from the top to create a beautiful indoor decoration.

2. Turn Them into a Bracelet

Looking for a fun project to do with your children? Why not turn those old balloons into colorful bracelets? This is a great way to reuse the latex from the balloons, as well as teach your kids the significance of reusing materials. You simply wrap the latex around a bracelet sizing tool (you can purchase these on Amazon for about $10-$15), and then secure it with a couple of staples.

3. Make a Kite

kite up in the sky
Image Credit: lenesi, Pixabay

Depending on where you live, you might already be enjoying a few warm and sunny days. If not, don’t worry, as you can use your old balloons to make a kite that can be enjoyed all year round. Kites are another fun activity to do with your children.

You’ll need to ensure that the balloon is completely deflated before you start to make the kite, and you can use the string from the balloon to attach the kite to the string to launch it into the air. To frame the kite, you can use a wire hanger or two or a couple of twigs from a tree in your backyard.

Here’s a video on how to do it:

4. Create a Cool Collage

If you happen to have small children at home, consider using old balloons to make a fun and colorful collage. You can either make a large wall collage or create small individual collages that can be hung on the wall or placed on a shelf. To create the collage, simply cut up the material from the balloons and arrange them however you like.

Consider using different shapes to create interesting patterns, or you can even write words or draw simple images with a sharpie. Don’t limit the collage to just balloons, you can use everything from dry pasta noodles, scrap wood, and old coins to add to your collage.

5. Re-purpose the Scrap Latex

Latex is one of the best balloon materials that you can buy because you can recycle it or re-purpose it in so many different ways. For example, try repurposing the scrap latex from the balloons to make colorful decorations for your home. To do this, you will need to boil the latex in water until it has become hard (or add adhesives), and then you can use it to decorate items such as coasters, plates, or candles.

6. Scrapbook Them

closeup of a scrap book
Image Credit: Kirk Cameron, Unsplash

The cool thing about scrapbooking is that you can do this with any balloon material. You can cut the balloons up or fold them over to fit them into the scrapbook. Scrapbooking is one of the most rewarding and fun ways that you can document the great moments in your life. Consider adding pictures, party favors, and other trinkets to your scrapbook session to capture the good times from the event.

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Wrapping Things Up

Disposing of your balloons responsibly and sustainably is important for the environment and for wildlife. However, if you don’t want to or can’t re-purpose or recycle them, you can always pop your balloons and put them in your regular trash bin. Keep in mind that not all balloons aren’t biodegradable and may not break down naturally. When in doubt, put them in a sealed bag before throwing them in your regular trash bin or your special waste bin.

Featured Image Credit: Joker345, Pixabay


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