Balloons; electrically conductive material or appurtenance; sale, distribution or release outdoors; reports
(Added by stats.1990. c. 1559 (S.B.1990) sec. 1.)
In fact, they tried to outlaw foil balloons altogether but our balloon coalition managed to convince them to just make it mandatory that a weight of some type must be attached to any foil balloon. Because of this, although no other state currently has passed such legislation, we who make a living in this industry try very, very hard to make sure that everyone knows about the law and the consequences that might happen to our industry if legislation stops us from using foil balloons altogether.
That is the main reason why I am so adamant about it. I have no trouble with using balloons because of environmental reasons because latex (rubber) balloons are biodegradable. In fact, a latex balloon will break down in the environment as quickly as an oak leaf. Mylar ribbon, however, is not biodegradable, and so that, too, is an additional reason why NOT to use it.
Can you make foil balloon arches with metallized ribbon if you tie the ribbon to the line? No. The problem with attaching the ribbon on the line and not the balloon is that besides being technically illegal (they are still "attached," - all you have done is tied an intermediate material between them), the people at the party will usually (no matter how you warn them about not doing this) go outside after the party and release the entire arch outside! I've heard many function managers mention this and have even seen it once. Not good if it gets caught on a power line or even if it ends up in the ocean as an entire string of monofilament with balloons tied on. Better to use the non-conductive Glitter Ribbon and be safe. Do try to convince the client not to do this anyway because of the environmental hazards.
Apart from California Law, foils are banned from the public transport system in Hong Kong. Why? Because someone sold a foil without a weight to a child who let it go in the subway - so a city of 18 million people came to a grinding halt. ALL balloon retailers suffered the consequences! Come on everyone, we are living in a time when environmental issues can topple governments and entire industries. I don't want to see our industry threatened by the careless actions of a few retailers and decorators. The fact is that it is not the environmentalists who are a threat to our industry... it's the "couldn't care less" balloonists!
Metallized Mylar balloons are not only a potential danger if they come into contact with electrical wires... they are NOT biodegradable. So, an escaped foil becomes an environmental danger to our wilderness. Worse... it's simply ugly litter! (wilderness or suburbia) We can't argue against that. So, why not show every single customer we serve that balloonists are also environment aware and NEVER sell a helium filled foil without a weight. That's true professional ethics... taking responsibility for our actions. California Law or not! If the customer wants the balloon without a weight, say "sorry, sold with weights only!" Just like the safety / environment features that are now mandatory on our cars (catalytic converters, unleaded fuel). It's for our own good, and the good of our children's children.
Some time ago, we decided to make weights mandatory. Our competitors didn't attach weights and their foils became a dollar cheaper than our foils. Guess what? Our sales have not dropped at all. Our competitors now offer weights as an "add on" sale as well! Our foil sales continue to grow. Our plea to the industry today is please, put a weight on it, before they "get heavy" on all of us.
As an industry, we HAVE to address this problem somehow. I don't know what the right way to do it is. Calling the balloon police is not the answer. And, from personal experience, talking with the companies themselves does little good. If you talk to the car dealerships, they say that the disposal of the balloons is the problem of the vendor. If you talk to the vendors, they either deny what they are doing, or say "show me the law against it" And, truly, aside from a littering standpoint, I can't find such a law. The California Law only covers electrically conductive balloons - not strands of latex balloons.
Sometimes, even the BIG companies seem to have little regard for what they are doing. I did a 3 day 4th of July event in 1994, and Sears had an "Open a Sears Card" booth there. Each morning, the Sears people put up their cheesy little kinda spiral packed arch. And, every afternoon when the fair closed, they cut it loose and let it fly. The first time they did it, I went to the person in charge, and told him what a VERY bad idea that was, especially considering that the fair was in the direct landing approach of John Wayne Airport, AND the balloons had SEARS printed all over them. His answer was "So? - who's going to stop me" The second day, same thing. Again, I mentioned it to the person in charge that day. Same type of response. By the third day, I had had it. As the fair was beginning to wind down, I grabbed the security guard on duty. We went to the Sears booth, took the arch down ourselves, and popped the balloons in front of them. And, they proceeded to tell me off in several colorful languages.
So, gang - I don't know what we can do. I've BEEN to car lots at 4:00 in the morning to talk to the people who are doing this, and I feel like I'm taking my life in my hands by doing it. The dealerships themselves don't think it's their problem, and I don't want to make them think that balloons are more trouble than they are worth. If this great collection of minds has an idea, I think this is a great time to start trying to do something.
This is not an American problem! It is a GLOBAL threat to our industry. I believe we are not going to achieve enough by constantly trying to put out fires by use of our local chapters, state affiliates, or even national associations. For every fire you extinguish in Partytown... 100 more are ignited in the class rooms and on our living room televisions. Our major "competitor" here is a well oiled, professional, cashed up, international media magnet called "Greenpeace."
I have sat with the chairman of the American based "Balloon Council" and discussed such issues at length with him. He too agrees that this (ultimately) needs to be addressed at an INTERNATIONAL level. I understand there is but one major hurdles to overcome before the "Balloon Council" can become an international industry body... the difficulty is getting balloon manufacturers outside the USA to see the value in investing in the cause. Can you believe that? How short sighted can they be? Well, balloon decorators are renowned for helping to educate their peers! Right?
How about each and every one of you on this list approach the manufacturer of the balloons you sell, and convince them of the need to help fund an international body that can AND WILL overcome this ill-informed challenger to our livelihood. The "Balloon Council" has an admirable track record. They have contacts at the highest political level. They know how to fight this threat. They have high profile publicity experts. Are you out there Dan Flynn? (Pioneer) Get together with your colleagues at Anagram, National Latex, CTI, Tillitson, Belbal, etc., and start an international fund drive to the world community of balloon manufacturers. Sure it might mean balloon prices go up a fraction to levy the fund. But that's better than no balloon industry at all!
Let's take on this foe on a level playing field, GLOBALLY!
New legislation in Massachusetts has been introduced that bans the sale of non biodegradable balloons. The Balloon Council is extremely concerned about this legislation which could have a severe negative impact on the balloon industry. TBC wants to stop this legislation in Massachusetts and ensure that it does not spread to other states!
House Bill 952 Bans the sale or manufacture of balloons that do not biodegrade within sixty days of disposal. The bill was introduced by Rep Kaufman of Lexington at the request of a group of fifth grade students. In addition the legislation which limits the number of balloons that can be used in a balloon release (HB 2920) was also introduced by Rep. Kujawski of Webster.
Both bills were referred to the Natural Resources and Agriculture Committee which held a hearing on April 7, l997. The school children, who requested these bills were present and testified in support of the bill.
The balloon council sent letters to the committee members expressing opposition to the bills. The committee has not acted formally on the bills.
At this stage of the legislative process, it is important for
legislators to hear from balloon retailers about the severe impact
these bills would have. Please call or write to these
representatives to let them know you strongly oppose these two
Rep. Kaufman - 617- 722-2030
Rep. Kujawski - 617-722-2220
If you'd like to call the Balloon Council their number is 800-233-8887 ask for Christine Stearns. They have two fact sheets on their reasons for opposition stating that the bills are founded on emotional appeal and have absolutely no basis in fact.
Cheryl in Massachusetts
Bianca's Biscuits & Baskets of New England
ROSEMEAD, Calif., June 26 /PRNewswire/ -- In the wake of a spate of power interruptions in recent weeks in the Southland caused by metallic balloons, Southern California Edison is urging customers to exercise good judgment when using the balloons and to never release them outdoors.
Though a colorful addition to festive occasions, helium-filled metallic balloons released outdoors can drift into power lines, causing short circuits, costly, widespread power outages, damaged property, and possibly injuries. There have been 60 circuit interruptions related to metallic balloons in 1998 -- 12 of which have occurred in June.
"We typically see an increase in balloon-related outages due to parties, celebrations and graduation ceremonies in June," said Ron Ferree, manager of SCE's power distribution operations, "but our distribution system has really been plagued by balloon problems in recent weeks.
"It's our job to keep the lights on, but we'll do a better job of that if we can reduce or eliminate this problem of metallic balloons contacting our lines. We're asking the public to exercise good judgment and to never release a metallic balloon outside. The balloon you release may very well cause an outage in your own neighborhood."
Last year, metallic balloons caused 90 power outages, affecting more than 100,000 customers, within SCE's service area.
SCE advises to never go near downed or dangling wires, or to try retrieving anything (including kites and balloons) hung up in power lines or in a substation.
"These situations should be reported immediately to the fire and police departments, and call SCE at the phone number listed on your bill," said Ferree.
An Edison International company, Southern California Edison is the nation's second largest investor-owned electric utility, serving more than 11 million people in a 50,000-square-mile area within central, coastal and Southern California.
SOURCE Southern California Edison CO: Southern California Edison; Edison International ST: California IN: OIL UTI SU: 06/26/98 19:09 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com
My question is, should i have known this before hand? Is it up to us to look up the laws for permits and such for a particular city? OR should the owner of known this, since it's his store? Should he of known the laws and restrictions of his town?
After working for a Landlord myself for over 12 years, I know that generally in malls and strip plazas, this type of decor is considered a type of "signage" or "advertising" for the business and is normally not permitted ...however, certain Landlords allow it if it is only a one or two day event. Certain Landlords are more strict than others... so it all depends on the location.
Oftentimes if a law is not clear or is vague in some area, "street level" law enforcement is left to determine poorly worded laws (and egads, there are soooooo many laws on the books... YOU CAN"T BLAME THE OFFICER =-) and they must exercise their best judgement under the circumstance (or should).
In the U.S. when you encounter this type of situation, you should:
You may consider placing a clause in your contract that the business owner is responsible for ALL permits and permissions associated with each job. I can also say that you are just one step ahead of the game now (and for your experience; so are we all) and you might just want to look into all the laws that pertain to the types of things you offer, and create a little pamphlet for your customers so that they do not unknowingly violate the law when using balloon decor and then know where to get permits & where you get them, etc. You can then also promote yourself as being a professional who is familiar with all things that affect your clients, as it relates to your services.
I hope that helps! Please, do not consider the above as legal advice, but, consult with legal professionals in your area, as what pertains in one city, state, country, may not apply elsewhere. I have a degree in criminal justice administration, so this is strictly a perspective from an officers point of view.