Posts Tagged ‘helium balloons’

Iwade School Cancels Planned Balloon Release

The Sittingbourne based Primary School in Kent recently commemorated Remembrance Day with a two minute silence to remember past and present service personnel.

Iwade School had also planned to release helium balloons as part of the event. However after receiving advice from Rosemary Lunn of The Underwater Marketing Company and reading environmental news articles, the school reviewed the event and cancelled the balloon release.

Instead 50 children along with their parents, took the balloon tribute decorated with poppies, and placed them inside ‘All Saints Church‘, Iwade to be part of the Remembrance Day Sunday service.

balloons blow, don't let go, Iwade School, biodegradable balloons, balloon release, The Underwater Marketing Company, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, scuba diving news, Iwade School

The weighted helium balloon display at Iwade School designed to commemorate Remembrance Sunday

“We, like many others, would have followed the strict guidelines given to us from our supplier and believed they were all biodegradable and only by reading your information and seeing things in the local news we find that this is not entirely accurate. We thank you again for providing us with further information so we can, as you suggest, make different decisions in the future so we do not further threaten our environment.”
Caroline Mariner, Principal, Iwade School

Many balloon suppliers advise that so-called ‘biodegradable balloons‘ are made made from natural latex, hence they take the same time to decompose as an oak leaf. Gardeners are aware that whilst some leaves mulch down quite quickly, oak leaves are remarkably durable and can take up to four years to decompose. During this time, it is quite possible for farm, wild and marine life to ingest or choke on a biodegradable balloon and die.


McDonald’s – It’s Time To Stop Using Helium Balloons

Professor Robert Richardson, McDonald's, helium balloons, Peter Wothers, MRI scanners, Despicable Me 3, environmental policy, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving PR,

In July 2017 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK promoted the film “Despicable Me 3” by using helium balloons

In December 2012 Professor Robert Richardson of Cornell University in New York argued that a helium party balloon should cost somewhere in the region of £75 to more accurately reflect the true scarcity of the gas. What is Richardson’s authority with this gas? In 1996 Professor Richardson won the Nobel physics prize for his research on helium.

Just a month later, in January 2013, the Independent newspaper published an article entitled “A ballooning problem: the great helium shortage“.

In the article Peter Wothers, a British Chemist and a teaching fellow in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Cambridge stated, “The scarcity of helium is a really serious issue. I can imagine that in 50 years’ time our children will be saying ‘I can’t believe they used such a precious material to fill balloons’”.

We only have a finite supply of helium. It is a vital scientific gas and it is needed to run medical machines such as MRI scanners. In both fields this gas is irreplaceable.

Granted we are not going to run out of helium tomorrow, but it is now time to carefully use helium. 100 years ago we utilised ivory in much the same way that plastic is currently consumed. No one batted an eye at shooting an elephant so that the tusks could be used to make billiard balls. Today we think about ivory and elephants completely differently and this thinking needs to extend to helium and balloons. Filling balloons with helium is absolutely the wrong use of this precious resource.

McDonald’s Helium Balloons

We are now in the summer of 2017. The film Despicable Me 3 has just been rolled out in UK cinemas and who doesn’t love a Minion! It is no surprise that McDonald’s has teamed up with this movie franchise and run some co-promotions because these films are joyous pieces of fun. What was less joyous was spotting that McDonald’s had fallen back on an old fashioned, out-dated method to promote the fast food chain and the film. Tying helium filled branded balloons to the railings outside their restaurant.

Professor Robert Richardson, McDonald's, helium balloons, Peter Wothers, MRI scanners, Despicable Me 3, environmental policy, Rosemary E Lunn, Roz Lunn, The Underwater Marketing Company, scuba diving PR,

The McDonald’s co-branded balloons displayed information about Despicable Me 3 and the McDonald’s Happy Meal, along with a ‘don’t litter’ sign

I therefore thought it an appropriate time to check out McDonald’s Environmental Policy. The relevant page has the title “striving for a sustainable future”.

At McDonald’s we recognise our responsibility to protect and preserve the environment for future generations. That is why we have a sustainable sourcing policy for food and packaging and aim to use our planet’s resources efficiently.

We believe in the importance of having a positive impact on the hundreds of communities in which we operate. Apart from supporting grassroots football and helping to fundraise for RMHC, we help to keep local areas clean and litter free by organising daily litter patrols and larger clean-up events.

Through our Planet Champion Programme, we train our employees on sustainable practices and inspire them to do their part, both in the restaurants and at home.”

Dear McDonald’s

Printing a “please don’t litter” sign on your balloons really doesn’t make much of an environmental impact. If you really want to change this planet for the better, please review your ‘Planet Champion Programme’ and bring it up to date.

Helium is a finite resource. It is time to stop using this precious gas in balloons as a marketing mechanism throughout your entire group. You have the worldwide power and authority to make a positive impact and help educate the public that the party is well and truly over when it comes to helium balloons. It won’t take much effort. It will make a massive difference. Please make it so. Thank you.