Balloon Litter and Release Bans
Clean Ocean Action Model Balloon Ordinance (new) pdf version word version
PreventBalloonLitter.org, “Inspirational, colorful, litter-free ideas to celebrate, to remember and to honor the people who impact our lives.” This site includes many alternative ideas for balloon releases and has good educational resources: Factsheet and Publications
Balloon Litter: Say Not To Letting It Go! (2:08 minutes, September 15, 2020)
Prevenir la basura de globos en espanol (2:26 minutes, with Spanish voiceover)
Balloon Litter: A Conversation (3:28, September 2018)
BalloonsBlow.org “Balloons Blow… Don’t Let them Go!”
This website is a valuable resource and includes information on helium depletion as well as the detrimental impacts of balloon releases. Visit their Education page and the creative list of environmentally friendly alternatives to balloon releases. There is a list of balloon laws from across the country. More useful links: Brochure / Factsheet
Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program with NOAA’s Marine Debris Program and NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management
Hold on to Those Balloons: They Could End up in the Ocean, (blog, March 2017) from NOAA’s Marine Debris Program
Discusses a study that was funded by NOAA Marine Debris Program for the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program to “explore the issue of intentionally released balloons…” This study was completed in 2018 and is linked below.
Balloon Litter on Virginia’s Remote Beaches, Results of Monitoring from 2013 - 2017, (96 pages, August 2018) found on the Virginia DEQ Coastal Zone Management Marine Debris page
Balloon Release Research in Virginia & Reducing Balloon Debris through Community-Based Social Marketing, (117 pages, November 2017)
Reducing Balloon Litter through Education and Outreach with the Joyful Send-off Campaign, NOAA’s Marine Debris Program page
JoyfulSend-off.org is the website component of a campaign providing “Picture-Perfect, and Litter-Free, Send-Off Ideas to End a Picture-Perfect Wedding Day!” It is the website component of the JoyfulSend-off campaign.
“The Joyful Send-off campaign, including this website, was designed by the Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program and Clean Virginia Waterways of Longwood University. The goal of the campaign is to reduce helium balloon releases at weddings and balloon litter. The Joyful Send-off campaign encourages couples to use alternative, litter-free, send-off ideas that capture the same joyous and picture-perfect moment identified as one of the reasons balloon releases are conducted. The campaign is being funded by grants from the NOAA Office for Coastal Management and NOAA Marine Debris Program.” – joyfulsendoff.org/about
Balloon Release Bans
Statewide-Mass Balloon Release Bill from Surfrider Foundation South Jersey
Balloons continue to be a major source of ocean and beach pollution and pose a real threat to wildlife. Surfrider Foundation South Jersey and its supporters have successfully encouraged many municipalities to pass local legislation to stop mass balloon releases. It’s time to ban this practice at the state level. Sign on to our new action letter below.
American Littoral Society, headquartered in Highlands, NJ has action items listed under their Champions of the Coast webpage, including taking action to pass an ordinance banning the intentional release of balloons. Here is their sample resolution.
New Jersey Municipalities with Balloon Ordinances (as of May 2022):
Things to Know:
- There are only 5 States that passed the Ban on Balloon Release: California, Connecticut, Florida, Tennessee, and Virginia.
- New Milford in Bergen County is the only North Jersey town that has passed such law.
- Fines range from no less than $100 up to no more than $500.
- The exception to this law is only a person on behalf of a governmental agency or pursuant to a governmental approved contract used for meteorological or scientific purposes. The other exceptions are hot air balloons that are recovered after being launched and balloons that are released indoors.
- The Sea Turtle Foundation estimates that 100,000 marine mammals and turtles and 1 million sea birds die every year from ingesting or becoming entangled in balloon debris.
- There is evidence to suggest that micro-plastics are becoming so tiny that even oysters are able to consume them.
- A balloon that is released into the atmosphere is considered to be airborne litter.
- Metallic coating on Mylar Balloons can cause power outages and or fire when the balloon comes in contact with the electrical lines.
- Under right conditions it would take many years for latex balloons to biodegrade.
The links below are extreme graphic cases on why we should not release balloons into the atmosphere:
- Balloons and Wildlife, Please Don’t Release Your Balloons, (blog, August 5, 2015) U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
- Photo Gallery, BalloonsBlow.org