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Hold On To Your Balloons! Surfrider Releases New Balloon Policy Toolkit

We’ve all witnessed it: a lone balloon, or perhaps dozens of them at an event, floating aimlessly through the sky, further and further away until they eventually disappear from sight. Unfortunately, they don’t actually come to an end.

Whether released intentionally or not, airborne balloons can travel thousands of miles before they burst or deflate and begin their descent. Plastic pollution is a major environmental and human threat, and balloons are a part of this worsening crisis. 

The good news is that this is a solvable problem!


The balloon policy toolkit provides resources, strategies and examples for Surfrider Foundation chapters and student clubs to advocate for laws that mitigate the impacts of balloon pollution in their local communities.

In this toolkit, there are examples of balloon pollution reduction policies based on the work that many chapters and clubs have carried out across the country. Since 2016, Surfrider has helped to pass 31 balloon laws nationwide, ranging from bans on the intentional release of balloons, to the prohibition of the sale of balloons in local municipalities.

To choose a strategy, it’s important to understand what kind of policy makes the most sense for your community and region. This document gives suggestions and connects you to resources that will help propel your efforts forward. With all of this collective knowledge, you will have the tools at hand to get out on the street and help ensure that balloons don’t end up littering the environment.

There are many ways to celebrate, remember, memorialize or honor the special moments in our lives without releasing balloons. Some ideas to celebrate or honor loved ones include planting bulbs, trees or seeds, floating flowers, paddling out or convening in a special place or blowing bubbles.

Every event that uses an alternative to balloon releases is a step toward protecting our environment and wildlife, and collectively, we can end balloon releases, one balloon at a time. Read the balloon policy toolkit to learn about how you can be a part of the solution to end balloon litter. And check out Surfrider's other policy toolkits and resources here!