Guidelines for Use of Balloons in Queensland

In Queensland, the release of balloons into the environment is now considered littering under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011—whether released deliberately or by accident.

While a person may have the permission of the occupier of a place to release a balloon, once the balloon leaves that place it becomes litter.

To avoid any penalties being incurred by the individual or the business (as per as per the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection website), no balloons are to be released into the environment.

What Can You Choose Instead?

There are a number of alternatives we can offer our families such as:

  • Bubbles
  • Paper tissue pom poms
  • Candles
  • Kites or pinwheels
  • Flags, banners, streamers or dancing inflatables
  • Flowers or planting a tree in memorial

If the use of balloons is unavoidable, please follow the guidelines below:

  • Balloons are to be placed indoors only as a decoration item to reduce the risk of accidental littering
  • Balloons must be attached to a balloon weight or similar
  • Choose biodegradable latex (rubber) balloons and natural strings
  • Avoid using non-biodegradable mylar balloons (foil-coated)
  • Ensure all balloons and accessories like clips and ribbons end up in the bin

The law does not differentiate between different types of littered material and whether the waste is biodegradable or not. The release of single or multiple balloons can constitute either littering or an illegal dumping depending on the volume of material released.

Balloons are made from two main materials, mylar or latex.

Mylar: foil-coated plastic balloons which are not biodegradable and stay in the environment forever. They are similar to plastic bags and break into smaller pieces (micro plastics) in the sun (photo degradation).

Latex (rubber): typically degrade more quickly than other types of plastics (much slower if in water) but can take years to fully break down depending on the conditions and the chemical and dyes used to manufacture.

Balloon accessories like plastic clips and ribbons are also not biodegradable.

All of these materials, if littered, can cause entanglement, injury and death to pets and wildlife, and also adds to the huge volumes of plastic waste in our environment.

At Toowoomba Garden of Remembrance we strive to take our responsibility as a good corporate citizen for the community and the environment very seriously andalways strive to follow these guidelines.