Wildlife-friendly alternatives to balloons

Last updated: 31 August 2022

Releasing balloons is illegal

Releasing balloons into the environment is littering and is illegal in Victoria.

For more details, see the Environmental Protection Authority Victoria website for the page Report helium balloon releases.

The problem with balloons

A CSIRO study identified balloons among the top three most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife, along with plastic bags and bottles.

Balloons end up in our waterways, oceans and parklands, causing significant damage to our environment and harming wildlife in many ways.

Balloons break down into small pieces of brightly coloured plastic that can look like food and are often ingested by wildlife. Balloons are often found in the stomachs of dead animals.

And then there are the plastic balloon sticks. When these end up in the ocean they don’t biodegrade and, instead, break down into smaller pieces, making them look like the perfect food to marine life.

Wildlife can become entangled in ribbons and strings that were attached to balloons, which puts the animal at risk of being strangled to death.

How to avoid using balloons

With so many alternatives on offer, it’s easy to stop using balloons at home and in the workplace, whether inside or outside.

Switch up balloons for bubbles

Blowing bubbles isn’t just for kids. When you want to make your next event a bit special, switch up your balloons for blowing bubbles

It’s super easy to make your own refill solution for bubble bottles. All you need is:

  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp of eco-friendly detergent

Simply dissolve the sugar in the water and add the detergent to create a perfect bubbly mix.

Zoos Victoria and Phillip Island Nature Parks have joined forces to urge Australians to blow bubbles instead of balloons at outdoor events. To learn more about why you should blow bubbles not balloons visit the Balloons page on the Zoos Victoria website.

Pick up a bunch of flowers

Choose blooms, not balloons. Flowers are a great alternative to balloons and make a great addition to an event or to mark a special occasion. When they start to wilt, you can put them in your compost bin. Or, pop them in your garden waste bin at home and they could end up as mulch at a local playground.

What about biodegradable latex balloons?

No balloons are fully biodegradable. While natural latex may be biodegradable, the addition of chemicals and dyes in balloon manufacture can make balloons persist for many months in the environment.

Many animals mistake so-called 'biodegradable' latex balloons for food, which blocks their intestines and can kill them.