Sky lanterns and helium-filled balloons are a popular option for commemorating events and celebrations such as weddings, fetes and charitable fundraisers. Evidence has proven that there are many risks to releasing these seemingly harmless tributes. Unexpired sky lanterns pose a significant fire hazard. Livestock and wildlife on land and sea can be entrapped, panicked or fatally injured by ingesting sky lanterns and balloon debris. The issue is particularly felt in rural and coastal locations where much of the debris ends up strewn; causing the most harm to fragile habitats.

Following the good example set by locations like Wales who banned the use of sky lanterns on council land in February 2018, Norfolk County Council has similarly prohibited their release. The council has created this charter with the aim of encouraging communities to switch to alternative greener ways of commemorating events. The policy covers all types of balloon and lantern materials. The main types of balloon are latex (rubber) and foil (also known as Mylar) and can include other materials. Latex balloons, whilst biodegradable, may persist in the environment for several years and sky lanterns typically contain a metal frame. When it comes to reducing rubbish in Norfolk, a local community is a great place to start. The more we can share ideas and resources, the more we can all benefit. Many more environmentally friendly alternatives to balloons and sky lanterns have been recommended such as wildflower seed-bombs, tree planting or bubble-blowing.


Refuse and Rethink

The first elements of the R strategies. In the case of Norfolk County Council’s Sky Lantern and Balloon Charter the strategy helped set clear standards and expectations making it easier, safer and fairer for all. Creating clear legislation with the environment and litter reduction at its heart will have wide ranging benefits.


As part of the Balloon & Sky Lantern Charter, Norfolk County Council are also lobbying to internationally ban releases of balloons and sky lanterns. Businesses, organizations, schools and landowners have been encouraged to sign up to the Balloon & Lantern Charters. The more countries and communities who make the pledge the greater the positive impact there will be.






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Over deze practice

Thema: Sustainable packaging
R-strategie: Refuse, Rethink
Betrokken partners: Norfolk County Council, Norfolk Recycles