Byron Shire balloon ban to protect wildlife and waterways

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Byron Shire Council has introduced a ban on the use of balloons and other single-use decorations in all Council buildings, parks and outdoor areas – and for good reason according to Byron Shire Mayor Michael Lyon.

“We know that balloons are one most lethal types of debris impacting Australian Seabirds and other marine life including turtles, who eat burst balloons because they look like jellyfish,” Mayor Lyon said.

“If balloons and party decorations are ending up in our oceans and waterways and causing harm to our precious marine life, we have to take strong and immediate action to stop this happening – it’s what our community expects and it’s absolutely the right thing to do,” he said.

The move is the first stage of a new Single-Use Packaging and Materials Policy for the Byron Shire which came into effect on 1 June 2024 and will help to phase out unnecessary waste from Council operations, facilities and open spaces.

The ban includes all balloons including biodegradable, helium, latex and water balloons. Glitter, confetti, streamers and tinsel, party poppers and glow sticks and all other single-use party decorations,

“The ban will impact those organising events of all shapes and sizes in our halls, buildings and parks but we will be working closely with individuals and groups to make the switch to reusable alternatives. Many local events and venues have already taken the step to eliminate some of these items, and this is just the next phase of Byron leading the way,” the Mayor said.

Council’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Prevention Officer, Jordyn de Boer, said that finding alternative decorations to celebrate an occasion is the easy part.

“It’s just about changing your thinking and getting a bit creative, which I know the Byron Shire is renowned for,” Ms de Boer said.

Council will be supporting the transition away from harmful single-use decorations through education campaigns, workshops, and online resources.

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