Helium party balloons have been around for decades, but do you know where helium comes from? This blog post will discuss what helium is, where it comes from and why it’s important to choose eco-friendly substitutes for balloons at your next party.
What is Helium?
Helium is the second element on the Periodic Table of Elements and while it’s considered bountiful in our universe it’s a limited resource here on Earth. We mostly attribute helium usage to party balloons that we pick up from our local party store. Surprisingly, most helium that is captured on Earth is used in the medical field and scientific laboratories.
Where do we get helium and what do we use it for?
In an article reported by NPR, our supply of helium is limited to the United States, Algeria and Qatar! Similar to oil and other metals we have to mine for underground, and take millions of years to generate, helium is an extremely nonrenewable resource.
Helium is used in a lot of medical equipment and building materials.
Check out this list of ‘10 Uses for Helium: More than Balloons and Blimps‘ to learn how we’re surrounded by helium, you’ll be surprised at what you learn!
The common balloons we fill with helium are typically made of rubber, latex or Mylar, both a type of plastic. Mylar balloons are coated with aluminum which gives them their shiny appeal. When balloons end up in the landfill, or even worse, the recycling or littered in our environment, it can take hundreds of thousands of years to break down.
You may already have some craft or tissue paper laying around home that you could use for tissue paper pompoms, pinwheels, steamers and chains. If you have parties often, you could check your local Buy Nothing group or if you want to invest, you could look into some fun solar or LED lights or a party favorite bubble machine.
Before, during and after your party, it’s still important to remember to Stick With the Six when recycling in the Blue Bin. Balloons are not accepted in the Blue Bin and should be placed in the trash. If you decorate with paper, once you have enjoyed your handy work, paper can be recycled in your Blue Bin.