The truth about balloons

& supporting products

There are still many misconceptions around balloons and supporting products, such as balloon sticks. Lets check the truth behind these claims, shall we?

 

Top 10 marine litter

For the new Single Use Plastics (SUP) Directive, balloon and balloon sticks have been included in the top 10 marine litter list.

 

But did you know there is no evidence in the Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (OSPAR Convention) or the European Environment Agency databases that these products are, in fact, in the top 10 of their monitoring surveys? 

On the other hand, since the European Commission proposed a ban on plastic balloon sticks - even though they're number 36 in only one source of litter data (EEA) - there are more and more environmentally-conscious alternatives to the so-called traditional balloon sticks.

In fact, without balloon sticks, it would be impossible to handle air-filled balloons on a string. Why? 

 

Well, balloon sticks not only help to reduce the use of balloon gas, but also stop the balloon from floating away - even if it is filled with balloon gas - due to the weight.

 

In other words, balloon sticks make it easier for children to handle balloons safely without a string.

Want more details? Read on below...

OSPAR Data shows that balloons are NOT in the top 10 litter list

Top 10 most common plastics found on European beaches

Research from the OSPAR Commission has recorded that, of the total number of plastic items found on European beaches between 2010 and 2016, balloons represented just 1% and balloon sticks, 0%.

This illustration demonstrates the actual top 10 most common plastics found on European beaches, as recorded by OSPAR Commission data: neither balloons nor balloon sticks feature.

If balloons and balloon sticks were (wrongly) caught up in the regulation, it would be devastating for the industry and jobs, without tangible environmental gain!

As a major driver of the SME sector, employing an estimated 15 000 people in manufacturing alone, the balloon industry contributes more than €150 million in annual taxes for Governments across Europe in VAT, not including environmental or corporate taxes.

Further statistics with NO mention of balloons or balloon sticks

Top marine litter items on beaches

Top marine litter items on the beach - NO balloons or balloon sticks found.

Explore the data here

Top 10 beach marine litter items found in Europe

Top 10 beach marine litter items found in Europe - NO balloons or balloon sticks. 

Explore the data here

Economic Impact

The European Commission has undertaken NO impact assessment for the balloon and party industry. The European Balloon & Party Council has surveyed its members to better understand the impact of the proposed SUP and simplified them into this infographic.

SUP Directive economic impact

Original survey data can be found here.