NOAA Sea Safe
Fun that doesn't fly away
Our project aims to prevent the buildup of plastic pollution in marine and wildlife ecosystems due to helium-filled balloons. Currently, balloons contribute to up to 3% of all plastic pollution once released by consumers and the only preventive measure is a weight attached to the string. As a common consumer product, re-engineering the balloon with preventive mechanisms to prevent release needs to result in a product that’s still fun, cheap, and accessible to the public. We are designing a pressurized tube assembly that will attach to latex balloons that can weigh the balloon down, is more fun to hold, and can prevent the balloon from flying away. This hollow, ultra-thin, silicone tubing will replace the string and be accompanied by a custom adapter that connects it to a balloon. This can be assembled behind the counter by a retailer, or sold separately as a consumer product. We also present a concept for the same assembly but for Mylar balloons.