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Posts Tagged ‘latex balloons’

Decorating and Entertaining with Compostable Products: A Growing Trend

Saturday, September 1st, 2018

If you walk into a party supply store, you will notice a growing selection of compostable plates, cups, utensils and even decorations. Compostable products have certainly grown in popularity, and as Berkeley residents, we have front row seats to this sustainable shift in an industry that is typically viewed as extravagant and–sometimes–wasteful.

 

Only a few short years ago the first attempt at compostable cutlery was a bit of a flop. Compostable spoons would disintegrate in hot tea, and party supplies hardly screamed fun.  Now that manufacturers have perfected their formulas, we’re seeing an impressive evolution from function to form.

recycled and compostable party napkins green wave recycled and compostable party napkins yellow hearts

As the demand for compostable plates, utensils, and decorations continues to increase, manufacturers are getting creative with textures, colors, and shape to make them more attractive. In a brief time, we’ve gone from brown, pulpy paper plates to single-use hot cup technology that looks and functions like plastic. We no longer have to compromise looks for sustainable products, which makes the appeal for compostable decorative products much stronger.

 

When You’re Done – Is It Recyclable or Compostable?

 

Composting and recycling are two different, though equally essential methods to keep unnecessary waste products out of the landfill. So, how do you tell the difference?

 

Recyclable Party Supplies

Recyclable means that the disposed waste is reused to produce new products. This doesn’t necessarily mean your kombucha bottle will come back as a kombucha bottle in a second life. Typical party recyclable items include glass containers, paper decorations, and plastic cups. Recyclables can certainly have prints and dyes in them, but they must be rinsed and cleaned before disposal, otherwise, they could be sent to the landfill.

 

Compostable Party Supplies

Compostable materials are biodegradable products that given the right conditions degrade to create

compostable corn and wood utensils

what is called humus (no, not the delicious chickpea dip!). Humus is a nutrient-rich, all-natural soil that can be returned to your garden, just as nature intended.

 

Food is typically compostable. Also, look for compostable party supplies like napkins, cups, plates, and utensils made from corn, recycled crushed paper, bamboo, and palm leaves. Longer-lasting compostable products are typically made from a type of wood.

Partially Compostable

In some cases, party products can be considered partially compostable or biodegradable. For example, latex balloons are compostable but the string is not, so you must dispose of each piece separately.

 

Exciting New Options

Take a look at a compostable plate versus a traditional paper plate now and you probably won’t notice a difference. Compostable decorative and single-use items (cutlery, plates, napkins) hold their own in the decorative department nowadays, and they also hold up better and have more longevity in terms of daily use.

compostable plates made of palm leaves

 

Manufacturers have recently come out with compostable decorations, including placemats, gift bags, banners and place cards. Compostable plates made with palm leaves look modern and are available in various textures and patterns.

 

For compostable decorations like crushed paper you might notice a little difference in texture, but now manufacturers are coming up with stylish shapes like squares with borders.

 

Compostable products are not made with paints, lacquers or chemical dyes. Instead, they use texturing, crushed paper, cuts, shapes and naturally derived dyes to create a diverse selection of attractive designs. Some designs even include prints!

 

compostable corn cup with stars

They have come a long way, and we are thrilled to see what they come up with next.

 

Looking to decorate your next occasion they ec0-friendly way? Call us 510-525-1799 or drop in at 1629 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley to browse a wide selection of stylish earth-friendly decorations, utensils, and more.

 

Balloon Safety and Myths

Sunday, July 1st, 2018

 

Colorful balloons floating on the ceiling of a party

Balloons are synonymous with fun. From birthdays to graduation to the 4th of July, they always add the right touch of joy to the occasion.

Well, we hate to burst your balloon, but our favorite floating celebration decoration has also caused a big debate about balloon safety, toxicity, and environmental impact. While this issue has been inflated by a few misconceptions about proper use and disposal of balloons, a quick study of best practices can help keep balloons available in California for safe and responsible fun!

Let’s take a look at some balloon safety myths and good balloon practices.

 

berkeley school color balloons red yellow

MYTH #1: All balloons are toxic for humans and the environment.

False. Latex balloons are made from the rubber tree and are completely environmentally friendly. The latex is as biodegradable as an oak leaf, which means animals have an extremely small chance of choking on them. This does not mean that we should toss our deflated balloons on the ground and pretend they are leaves (even oak leaves take a few years to fully decompose). If your latex balloons end up in the ocean, they can take a year to decompose. Plus, the ribbon is NOT biodegradable, and this is the part that often harms animals. In general, don’t release balloons – reuse the material for other crafts and decoration

 

MYTH #2 Releasing of a Mylar balloon has the same effects as releasing a latex balloon.

False. You might have noticed all Mylar balloons come weighted down. This is meant for more than your convenience and extra decoration. It’s a law. Unlike a released latex balloon that falls back to earth in shards, when you release a Mylar balloon, it goes up, up and up until it hardens and breaks into a flat piece of metal before falling toward earth. If it lands on power lines it could compromise power for whole blocks.

 

MYTH #3 Balloons are dangerous for all children.

False. Balloons are not toxic to touch and are safe to play with, as long as children have supervision. However, this is true for children 3 and under, just like most objects at that age. If a child is biting on a balloon and it pops, the release of pressure can lodge the balloon into their little throats, causing them to choke. For children old enough to know better, balloons are completely safe.

 

MYTH #4 Balloons are bad because releasing helium is a non-renewable resource.

This one has some truth to it. While helium isn’t technically pollution, it’s unsustainable. There is a limited supply of helium, and it would be bad news if we ran out. Helium is needed to operate MRI scanners and LCD screens, so we should be mindful about how many balloons we use.

The more we learn about our favorite things, the more mindful we can be. Celebrate responsibly!

Love balloons? You’ll love our blog post on the history of balloons too!

Ready to order balloons? Check out our balloon ordering guide, and then come on into the store or give us a call at 510-525-1799.

5 Facts About the History of Balloons

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Why do we use balloons for celebration? What is it about balloons that makes us smile? If movies like Pixar’s Up have any sway in the matter, it’s probably because we just really love watching pretty things float. But there’s so much more to balloons than simple decoration. Here are 5 historical facts about balloons that you didn’t know you needed to know.

 

Valentines-day-red-balloon-heart-arrangementThe History of Balloons

While we couldn’t possibly imagine a kid’s birthday party without colorful balloons or Valentine’s Day without floating hearts that say “Be Mine”, balloons haven’t been around for very long. The concept for balloons was initially invented for transportation (like the hot air balloon) and military communication, not celebration.

 

The Invention of Latex Balloons

So when did balloons become a staple party decoration? In the 1840’s a couple of scientists, first Michael Faraday and then Thomas Hancock started playing with rubber, glued two sides together and inflated it–little did they know they had paved the way for a cultural phenomenon! The first commercialized rubber balloon came onto the U.S. market around the turn of the century. In 1912 those long noodle or “sausage” balloons popularized and people began twisting them into different shapes to look like animals.

multi colored balloon animals

Movie Magic Balloon Facts

The Red Balloon, the 1956 short film directed by Albert Lamorisse, played off the simple pleasure a balloon provides. The 34-minute film is simple, whimsical, and has a way of awakening the child in all of us. The film’s only special effect is the mechanism used to get the balloon to follow the boy. The Red Balloon also spurred a deep love for floating balloons in the US. Before that, balloons were manufactured on sticks. While you can still buy stick balloons today, floating balloons are still the more popular choice.

 

Environmental Facts About Balloons

Colorful balloonsToday, there are some misunderstandings about the environmental safety of balloons and how we should dispose of them. While the string of the balloon is not biodegradable, the latex balloon is. Mylar balloons, on the other hand, are not biodegradable. When these types of balloons get high up in the atmosphere they harden into a solid plate and fall back to earth, occasionally taking out whole power lines. That’s why Mylar balloons come weighted down. To properly dispose of a Mylar balloon, cut it into strips and recycle them. You can also re-use them for art projects. Whether your balloons are Mylar or latex, be sure both the balloon and the string are disposed of properly.

 

Helium Balloon Facts

A series of issues over the last 15 years have also led to a fear of a helium shortage since helium is needed to run MRI scanners and other important devices. Because of this, air-filled balloons have come back into popularity, replacing some helium sales (though the switch isn’t very significant). The balloon industry changes rapidly, and it’s possible the rules and expectations around helium will change again, and again.

While governments and environmental groups are discouraging people from buying helium-based balloons, the use of balloon material for other projects is completely fine. In fact, some of the most incredible artwork can be created using balloon material.

There you have it! The life and history of the balloon is an interesting one. Where will balloons take us next?

Come by our store in Berkeley at 1629 San Pablo Ave (510-525-1799) to purchase balloons for your next party! And check out our helpful balloon ordering guide first!

 

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