Protect the environment while having an epic water fight by doing one thing: using eco friendly water balloons.
Are water balloons bad for the environment?
Today’s water balloons are made from latex, rubber, plastic or nylon fabric (plastic) and contain chemical additives and dyes. These materials do not biodegrade or decompose quickly (if at all) and so contribute to the single use waste problem.
Are there biodegradable water balloons?
Water balloons made from latex, mylar or similar materials are not biodegradable and brands marketing them as such are conducting false advertising.
The Conversation conducted an incredible experiment on biodegradable balloons. They added the balloons to an industrial compost and large fish tanks filled with fresh and saltwater.
After a few months, they found the balloons still intact and with little to no change in mass. That means, the balloons didn’t biodegrade at all.
Bottomline? Don’t fall for the ‘greenwashing’ nonsense that companies are claiming while charging you a premium.
What to use instead of water balloons?
Water balloon alternatives can be anything that is very soft, absorbent and holds its shape. Eco friendly sponges and balls made from soft rubber, silicone, fabric, wool and yarn are great alternatives and are reusable. Agar agar jelly can also be used as zero waste water balloons.
Before buying anything, I always advocate for making your own.
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How do you make a homemade water balloon?
There are three main ways to make an eco friendly alternative to water balloons: using agar agar powder, using fabric scraps and using yarn.
Agar agar water balloons
Have you ever heard of agar agar or China grass? It is made from red algae and is used as a vegan alternative to gelatin.
Agar agar comes in a powdered form or as dried strands. You can get the powder on Amazon here.
To make the water balloon alternatives:
- Bring about 6 cups of water to a boil on medium heat.
- Add 4 teaspoons of the powder.
- Stir until the powder has fully melted and the water starts to thicken.
- Remove from the heat.
- Pour into little containers, small molds, or ice trays.
- Place in the fridge for at least two hours.
The agar agar jelly firms up nicely in the fridge. It melts at about 85°C (or 185°F) so the jelly should last for the entire water “balloon” fight.
Homemade fabric water balloons
Do you have any scrap fabric or old clothes laying around? They can be repurposed into a fun summer water balloon alternative.
Half pairs of socks are great too. Cut the leg part off and use it to stuff the foot section. Stitch to seal and voila! You just made a sock balloon and stress ball all in one. Ha!
Heather Handmade made disc shaped water balloons with fleece and plastic sponges. You can follow her pattern but swap the materials for old clothing instead.
Homemade crocheted water balloons
Crocheted water balloons have been popular for a little while now. You can make your own tshirt yarn and use that to make the balloons.
By the way, check out my mega post on ways to reuse and repurpose old T shirts. There are videos on there that explain how to make T shirt yarn and what else you can use it for.
Apart from tshirt yarn, you can use blanket yarn as Megan from Left in Knots did. Check out her Youtube tutorial.
Best eco friendly water balloons to buy
If DIY isn’t for you, there are a couple water balloon alternatives to buy.
Crocheted water balloons
You can purchase crocheted water balloons from Jeannield Crochet on Amazon. They are handmade in the USA! The only caveat is they are made of polyester which isn’t ideal – but it certainly beats using single use water balloons.
For larger batches of reusable water balloons, check out these from ThrillZoo. They are made with an absorbent cotton material and come in a nice cardboard box.
Eco friendly sponges
Eco friendly sponges aren’t only meant for cleaning dishes. You can also use them as soft, absorbent water balloons. They are made with coconut and cotton fibers and are compostable.
Cut them up into small sizes for more fun. Or leave them whole for a larger ‘balloon’. The choice is yours. If you do leave them whole, you can disinfect, dry them and reuse them to scrub the countertops. Ha!
I hope these eco friendly water balloons are perfect for your epic water fight. Put them in the fridge before play time too so the ‘balloons’ stay cool for longer. That’s a great way to beat the summer heat, isn’t it?
What do you use during a water fight? Let me know in the comments below.