Who doesn’t love a good party? One thing that surely signals a party is that telltale cluster of balloons, tugging cheerfully from the mailbox at the end of the driveway, almost chanting “Party over here!”. Think twice, however, before making that next helium balloon purchase.
Helium, that lighter than air element which is responsible for giving helium balloons their gravity-defying loft, is the second most common element in the universe, is non-reactive, and turns into a liquid at very cold temperatures without freezing solid. All of these properties have made helium a useful tool in medicine, space exploration, electronics, and manufacturing. The supplies of helium are dwindling and experts estimate that reserves of this natural resource could be gone within the next 25-50 years or so. There are ways to reclaim helium from the atmosphere, but they are very expensive and will certainly drive up the cost of products and services that require helium, such as MRIs and LCD televisions.
It may seem like a small contribution, but choosing air filled balloons for your next festivity can help. Try air inflated balloons hung or draped from the ceiling or arranged as centerpieces. Or skip those balloons all together and spend your money on something your guests will really appreciate…like a bigger cake!