Releasing balloons into the environment is littering and is illegal in Tasmania.
The problem with balloons
A CSIRO study identified balloons among the top three most harmful pollutants threatening marine wildlife, along with plastic bags and bottles.
Balloons end up in our waterways, oceans and parklands, causing considerable damage to our environment and harming wildlife in many ways.
Balloons and tie clips break down into small pieces that can look like food and are often ingested by wildlife. Balloons are often found in the stomachs of dead animals.
Wildlife can become entangled in ribbons and strings that were attached to balloons, which puts the animal at risk of being strangled to death.
It's easy to find an alternative to using balloons at events:
- Switch balloons for bubbles
- Give the gift of a bunch of flowers
- Plant a tree
Flowers are a great alternative to balloons and make a great addition to an event or to mark a special occasion. When they start to wilt, you can put them in your compost bin. Or, pop them in your garden organics waste bin at home and they could end up as compost.
The EPA recommends that you don't use balloons outdoors. If using balloons is unavoidable make sure you strongly secure them. Make sure you correctly dispose of accessories like clips and ribbons.
Balloon releases and the law
Under the Tasmanian Litter Act 2007, the penalty for littering a small item such as a balloon (which can end up on the ground or in the water) is 2 Penalty Units, which equates to $346 (based on 2021/22 financial year, increases annually). Mass releases of balloons may attract hefty fines.
If you witness littering in the form of a mass balloon release, take photos and record details of the event, and you can report this to the EPA on (03) 6165 4599.
If you see someone littering from a vehicle or vessel, you can report this via our Report Littering page or call the Litter Hotline on 1300 135 513.
More on litter
Litter is a visible sign of pollution. It is unsightly and can cause harm to people, wildlife and our waterways.
To find out more on what is litter and how it affects our environment check out our About Litter page.