September is International Balloon Month

Earth, Society

#LiftUpSomebody with balloons but always use a weight and never release them


Sharing smiles and Smart Balloon Practices are the focus of this year’s #LiftUpSomebody campaign which is part of the International Balloon Month celebration.

The #LiftUpSomebody campaign inspires people around the world to “thank” someone special in their community by giving them balloons, and then share those moments of joy on social media. The campaign also encourages people to promote and follow the motto: “Don’t let go: Inflate. Weight. Enjoy.”

“Giving balloons to important people in our community such as firefighters, care givers and teachers, helps spread goodwill and demonstrates the positive power of balloons. This also provides a great opportunity to increase awareness of the proper ways to use and handle balloons, so they don’t wind up in places where they don’t belong,” said Lorna O’Hara, Executive Director of The Balloon Council which sponsors the #LiftUpSomebody campaign.

“Simple practices such as always weighting balloons, popping and disposing of them after the celebration, never inhaling helium, making sure children are always supervised when playing with balloons, and most importantly never releasing balloons, are just some of the tips we are encouraging people to share,” explained O’Hara.

The Balloon Council recently announced a revised stance on balloon releases to emphasize the fact that balloons should not be released. “Over the years, as the social and political climates have changed, our position has also evolved. This change in stance fully recognizes the need for everyone to be as ‘green’ as we possibly can be to protect our planet,” said Dan Flynn, Chairman of The Balloon Council. “Our new motto is “Don’t let go: Inflate. Weight. Enjoy.”

Photos using #LiftUpSomebody that are shared on Facebook and Instagram (@balloonsliftup) will automatically be entered into the photo contest. Winners will be featured on and announced at the FLOAT 2019 convention.

Schools and community youth groups are encouraged to take the “Faraday Pledge Card Challenge” and compete to see which organization fills out the most pledge cards. The pledge is part the national “Meet Faraday: Smart Balloon Practices” campaign that is travelling around the U.S. to educate communities about smart balloon practices.

The Balloon Council is a non-profit organization made up of responsible retailers, distributors, and manufacturers dedicated to educating others about the wonders of balloons and the proper handling of them.

Local Entrepreneur Mass Producing Unique Environmental Product to Combat Plastic Waste Contamination through Public Support

Science, World

Marc Mataya, Charlotte resident and serial inventor, created the Leaf Burrito®, a reusable yard waste removal bag, which is designed to help eliminate detrimental single-purpose plastic bags. Currently in use in Charlotte, the Leaf Burrito® won the 2017 Sustain Charlotte Award in the Waste Reduction category. “Leaf Burrito won the Sustain Charlotte Award for a reason. Great product, easy to use, making where we live a better place for us and generations after us. It is a cutting edge leader in the Sustainability arena,” stated Shannon Binns, executive director of Sustain Charlotte.

“I came up with the idea several years ago when I was assisting the City of Charlotte Solid Waste staff with unloading my burrito-shaped tarp. However, tarps are not approved containers. I have always had a strong passion for environmental sustainability, green initiatives and with all the current news on what plastic contamination is doing across the world I wanted to do my part,” shared Marc Mataya, local entrepreneur. “After being recognized with the Sustain Charlotte Award and being endorsed by the City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte Solid Waste Services, I wanted to get the Leaf Burrito® in the hands of as many folks in the landscape business, corporate entities or weekend warriors in Charlotte and eventually at most homes across the country. Crowdfunding seemed the best venue to educate the public, create awareness and get production started more quickly.”

Crowdfunding will allow Leaf Burrito® to increase production and reduce the cost of the product with larger production runs. Leaf Burrito® works to educate customers and cities about the impact of single-use plastic on the environment and their communities. Leaf Burrito® will donate 5% of all funds raised, as well as 5% of future revenues, to support local Greenway development organizations.

On Earth Day 2018, the Earth Day Network shared these facts about worldwide plastic contamination. 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced since plastic was introduced in the 1950s.The amount of plastic produced in a year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. Virtually every piece of plastic ever made still exists in some shape or form (with the exception of the small amount that has been incinerated). 91% of plastic waste isn’t recycled. Most plastics don’t biodegrade in any meaningful sense, it could exist for hundreds or even thousands of years.100 billion plastic bags are used by Americans every year. Tied together, they would reach around the Earth’s equator 773 times. 8 million metric tons of plastic winds up in our oceans each year.