Monday, June 16, 2014

Releasing balloons at funerals and other poignant occasions.

Releasing balloons at funerals and other poignant occasions is a good way especially for a child to help with the understanding and feeling of saying goodbye to someone special.

'Balloon Fairies'

Recently there was a question posted on the QBN Facebook Group 
"I had a customer come in today wanting a heart or a star foil balloon for a funeral with the intention of releasing them after. I advised her against it and explained why but she insisted that she wanted them as it was a funeral for a child and it was the parents wish. What should I do"?

As a balloon professional, we know that foil balloons should never be released and as an industry we are working very hard to ensure that this does not happen. This can be achieved through greater public awareness making sure that we inform our customers that foil balloons are not biodegradable and therefore will ultimately turn into roadside litter. 

This can easily be done through the use of 'Care Cards', a card that we attach to every balloon and balloon arrangements that we sell and in fact by using a Care Card it ensures that we comply with health and safety regulations too! The one shown below is available through Pioneer Europe #16188 and European distributors who distribute Qualatex balloons, but if these are not available to you, check with your distributors to see if they have an alternative or you could easily make your own, adding your own company details, the following points should be included:

Qualatex Care Card

Latex Balloons:Warning! Children under eight years can coke or suffocate on uninflected or broken balloons. Adult supervision required. Keep uninflected balloons from children. Discard broken balloons at once. Made of natural rubber latex, which may cause allergies. Use a pump to inflate the balloon.
Foil Balloons:Foil balloons may conduct electricity. Do not release helium-filled foil balloons outdoors or use near overhead power lines. Use only non-metallic ribbon and attach the balloon to a weight to keep them floating away.
Foil & Bubble Balloons:Not suitable for children under 36 month due to potential small particles which may pose a choking hazard. Adult supervision required.

For more information on Smart Balloon Practices visit the Balloon Council Website that give some great information and guidelines.

Balloon Fairies!

When I read the original post on the Facebook group, I felt that maybe we should approach this situation head on and find the perfect solution!

So with that in mind 'Balloon Fairies' was conceived,  so what is a Balloon Fairy?
'Balloon Fairies are a very special balloon. A totally natural biodegradable balloon and ribbon filled with beautiful wild flower seed that will be released once the balloon has reached it's final destination, that will grow and flower for years to come'!  
So how do you make your balloon fairies?

Love Doves # 37074

I would recommend using an 11" balloon, maybe the 'Love Doves' or Butterfles-A-Round, any latex balloon is suitable, you just need to make sure that the sentiment is right, add a sprinkling of wild flower seeds inside the balloon (which will be pretty hard to see), so when you take a photograph showing your Balloon Fairies for marketing purposes, I would show a packet of the flowers seed next to the balloons. Add a paper ribbon, ensure that it is biodegradable along with a little (biodegradable) card so that a message can be added.

Just by simply 'Googling' biodegradable ribbon I found some great companies who specialise in making this type of ribbon. I was very interested to read a blog written by Cream City Ribbon about their commitment to the environment, it worth a read!

You can create your own name for these special balloons, I thought that 'Balloon Fairies' was a very gentle name as this is usually a very sensitive occasion but another suggestion could be 'Balloon Messengers', but I am sure that you can find your own name!

You can add these to your website or portfolio's, giving a fantastic description: "Balloon Fairies are a very special balloon. A totally natural biodegradable balloon and ribbon filled with beautiful wild flower seed that will be released once the balloon has reached it's final destination, that will grow and flower for years to come'! 

So if someone comes in to buy a balloon for that purpose you can automatically guide them towards your very special 'Balloon Fairies'. You could add a note to your websites saying that as a balloon professional you care for the environment and as such will not knowingly sell any non biodegradable balloon for the purpose of being released into the environment. 

A few facts about latex balloons:

When a helium filled latex balloon is release studies show that these balloons usually rise to an altitude of about five miles. At that point, freezing air pressure causes "brittle fracture", creating spaghetti-like pieces that scatter to the four winds (in every direction).

Whist some balloons don't reach this altitude, research shows that regardless of the latex balloons ultimate form when it lands, it will decompose, forming a natural soil nutrient at the same rate as an oak leaf. (This information was forms part if the Myths V's Facts on the Balloon Council website).

Please lets try and change the attitude of our customers rather than giving in, show them that you have a fantastic environmentally friendly alternative, that is so much better than a foil balloon!

Happy Ballooning!


Christine Maentz said...

This is a great idea! I was looking for something unique to offer my new clientele... this just might be it! Thank you for sharing!

Katherine Nilsson said...

This is a lovely idea. I too find it a very difficult situation, especially when it's a funeral for a child. It will be nice to have an alternative and I think people will love the idea.