The motto of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle,’ is taught to children at kindy, they get it. We have an incredible amount of waste coming out of homes that people need to change their ways. I find that children learn the waste education concepts easily, and it’s through them we hope to educate the ‘grown-ups.’ Adults have the ability to make grown-up decisions but they struggle when it comes to the point of purchase.
There are mountains of waste being buried in landfill, burned or shipped across the globe so that another country can deal with our problem. It’s a sad reality and to make real change we need to look at where we’ve gone wrong. The waste messages are not new, they’ve been around for years. However what most people don’t realise is that the most important word for waste is ‘REDUCE.’
Upsizing is a marketing tactic popular with large companies to make you, the consumer, feel like you’re getting a good deal. It encourages people to buy more product and larger serves. Upsizing works by making smaller sized serves comparatively expensive and then offering to ‘upsize’ to a larger quantity for a fraction more money. People tend to ‘upsize’ even when they don’t want so much because it seems like good value for money.
The main problem with upsizing is that it results in people buying and consuming more than they need. Firstly there is the health implications of consuming more than you need and secondly there is the waste left over.
Many fast food chains and cinema food stores offering ‘bundling,’ where individual food items are sold together as a ‘combo,’ or ‘meal deal.’ This works the same way as upsizing, where individual items are more expensive, which encourages the keen consumer to buy a bundle deal. This is highly profitable to the company as the extra items usually have a high profit margin such as fries, popcorn or soft drink. The main problem with bundling is that people consume more than they need or there is food waste.
Larger packets and bottles
To increase the sale of a product marketing has gradually increased the size of your regular items such as packets of chips and soft drinks. By offering an ‘upsized’ deal the consumer would purchase a larger size from now on, forgetting that it was once a deal. For example soft drink cans used to be a standard size of 250ml, they have crept up to a standard 375ml size. The most common purchased size is now a 600ml plastic bottle size.
Household hazardous waste
This is also the same with cleaning products, garden chemicals and paint where there are often upsized or two for one deals. When these items are not finished, the excess becomes household hazardous waste. The excess is often stored in a cupboard until it is eventually poured down the drain or thrown in the bin so someone else can deal with it. In reality it is nature that has to deal with it. The toxins can pollute the land and find their way to the water systems. If you have excess chemical waste take it to your local waste collection point where it will be processed with the least damage to the Earth. To find your local drop off point contact the waste officer from your local council.
What can you do
It can be hard to push through the marketing tactics that are targeted to ignite your feel good senses. We are trained to look for a ‘good deal,’ and these upsizing tactics deliver the goods. They encourage over-consumption as they exploit resources, ask for more money and then make you feel like you’ve grabbed a great deal.
Instead of looking at the bargain you’re getting look at the cost to your health for an upsized meal, the unused resources that go to waste and the little bits of money you save if you get exactly what you need.
When you go to the shops have in mind the right quantity that you need and stick to it. Upsizing has become our downfall as we now have cupboards filled with unused ‘stuff.’ Take pressure off the Earth’s resources and the fast filling landfills by becoming a thoughtful shopper.
When a balloon is let go it will blow high and fill the sky with colour. We've all seen it happen. At an event you may have seen a mass balloon release or the accidental let go of balloons at a festival as they one by one drift towards that magical place called 'away.'
The sad truth is it will eventually burst or deflate, then return to pollute the planet. A balloon can travel hundreds of kilometers before landing in a forest, lake or the ocean. No ecosystem is safe.
Many animals such as turtles, whales, dolphins, seals, birds, fish and other wildlife mistake balloon debris for food. The ribbons attached to balloons are also deadly when animals become entangled in them.
When ingested, balloons can block an animal’s digestive tract, this will lead to a slow painful death as they eventually starve. It is extremely common for sea turtles to consume balloon litter. Turtles love to eat jellyfish, what do you think a balloon looks like under water?
Balloons are often used for promotion at events as cheap giveaways to children. But at what cost? Balloons are deadly to animals and we believe they are an ecological disaster. Eco Faeries are at events every week and watch sadly as balloons drift away. It breaks our hearts as we think of the devastation that could be caused by them.
We plea to schools, businesses and event organisers to think about the environmental consequences of balloons when they reach nature.
The strong plastic ribbon often attached to balloons can entangle any animal that comes in contact with it. Birds have become entangled in the sky, along with sea animals when the balloon has landed.
The plastic is not biodegradable and will exist in nature for hundreds of years.
Releasing a balloon is simply littering and we believe should be against the law. Many cities around the world are now moving to ban mass balloon releases, you can contact your local council member to see if they are considering banning balloon releases.
The balloon industry is working hard to keep balloon releases legal at the expense of our planet and wildlife. They claim latex balloons are biodegradable but studies show they can take years for this to happen, offering plenty of time for wildlife to encounter the litter.
Balloon releases are popular with charitable events, weddings, memorials for loved ones or to bring awareness to a cause. At the same time, we are becoming more aware of our personal impact on the environment. How about try something different?
Instead of releasing balloons that damage life perhaps event organisers can consider handing out bubbles instead? EVERYONE loves bubbles. Some bubble bottles are recyclable as well as refillable. If used for promotion you can get bottles custom printed.
Rather than release balloons, try planting new life. Give away plants and seeds to celebrate your business or occasion.
Candles and Kites
You can commemorate an occasion by lighting candles, fly kites, or organise a clean-up!
Helium depletion is also a concern. Helium is used for important things such as MRIs, the space industry and deep-sea exploration. Helium is a non-renewable resource and experts warn the US supply is being depleted, forcing it to be imported from Russia and the Middle East.
Using a valuable non-renewable resource for the sake of a balloon doesn't seem like a sustainable approach. As the world becomes more 'green aware,' we need to let go of old ideas that we know are doing more harm than good.
Why celebrate by harming another?
Thousands of balloons are washing ashore everyday and many more are floating in the ocean. There are alternatives that will have a smaller environmental impact.
Eco Faeries would like to support your decision to not have helium balloons at your next event. If you'd like more ideas on alternatives please contact us.
Balloons Blow...Don’t let them go
Pictures and quotes from www.balloonsblow.org
Head to their website for more information or to see how you can campaign in your area to have balloon releases banned.
Finding the balance of being a dedicated mum and busy working faerie