Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons

Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons  title=
Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons
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Source: Girl Scout Troop 50886  

San Marcos High School junior Dorienne Larbig is raising awareness in the community, one Mylar balloon at a time.

Larbig, a 16-year-old Girl Scout Ambassador, recently launched her Girl Scout Gold Award Community Service Project called MylarMistake, an educational website and social media campaign to tell the community to reduce the use of Mylar balloons, as the balloons are detrimental to the local ocean environment and marine life.

Larbig created MylarMistake.com to promote reducing or repurposing the use of Mylar. When community members are able to gather together again, Larbig hopes to present her information and personal story at community events and summer camps using her motto Party’s Over, Mylar!

Due to COVID-19, she is pivoting her project to be based mostly online.

“Though Mylar balloons are colorful and can lift the spirits of any event, single-use Mylar balloons are horribly destructive to the environment,” Larbig said. “Mylar is virtually non-recyclable, and it is one of the top three types of litter removed from the Santa Barbara Channel. It is deadly to marine life and compounds the amount of debris in our local ocean and landfill.”

A Santa Barbara Beach lifeguard and competitive swimmer, Larbig said her idea for change began on a kayak excursion to Anacapa Island.

Shocked to witness how many Mylar balloons were fished out of the ocean by the guide during her trip, she realized it wasn’t well-known that single-use Mylar balloons blown from the Santa Barbara mainland often end up in the Santa Barbara Channel.

“This project is incredibly important,” said Penny Owens from Santa Barbara Channelkeeper. “I am thrilled to partner with Dorienne to guide her passion, connect with the community, and take action to make a difference to keep the ocean clean and safe for all.”

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest achievement a Girl Scout can earn. The Gold Award is a personal challenge to demonstrate leadership and create a sustainable change to meet a community need. The project includes building a team of community members and field experts to gain real-world experience.

Larbig’s advisory committee includes Owens; Kathi King from the Community Environmental Council; Sam Macks of the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum Sea Center; and Carson Cantrell from Can-If Marketing.

“The Santa Barbara beaches and ocean bind our community together. It’s very special,” Larbig said. 

“These balloons tear apart our unique ecosystem. So for your next event, think twice before you buy them.”


Dorienne Larbig is a member of Girl Scout Troop 50886 in Santa Barbara, CA. She is a Community Service Gold Award Candidate for the Girl Scouts of the California Central Coast (GSCCC). For more information, please contact [email protected] or visit our website at mylarmistake.com. 

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a-1588922067 May 08, 2020 12:14 AM
Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons

“These balloons tear apart our unique ecosystem.“ How exactly do the balloons do this? Do they disrupt the food chain somehow? Does mylar catalyze some kind of runaway reaction in the nutrient cycle? Actually the balloons don’t tear anything apart, they simply run out of helium, fall to earth, then lie inert until the sun and the elements eventually decompose the polyethylene.

a-1588951186 May 08, 2020 08:19 AM
Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons

These mylar balloons NEVER decompose, 1066; that's the whole point of this project & educational article. You minimize the effect they have by suggesting they just dissolve over time after running low on helium. Hooey!

a-1588930869 May 08, 2020 02:41 AM
Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons

MAY 08, 2020 12:14 AM If you think it's okay to harm our ocean animals and other types of wildlife, you need to do your research: >>>>>>>>> "However, the most devastating effect is animal harm. It can take anywhere from six months to four years for a latex balloon to degrade, and even longer for a mylar balloon. This gives them plenty of time to harm our marine life before they finally break down. Deflated balloons are frequently ingested by animals, causing intestinal problems, and balloon ribbons are responsible for animal entanglement and strangulation." (yachts4fun.com ----- Marina del Rey). <<<<<<<<<<<<<<And that's not even taking into account the plastic tabs/tubes used to close off the bottom of the helium-filled balloons.

YELLOWFIN May 07, 2020 08:41 PM
Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons

Thank you for doing this project. Yes, these balloons are very cheerful but when they fly away they cause a lot of damage. As a part of your project, please contact the places where these are sold. Perhaps they could sell "balloons" that don't float because they are mounted on sticks. That might mitigate the number of trash balloons. In case the stores don't want to give up selling these things, perhaps each one could come with a tag indicating proper disposal and the consequences of improper disposal.

taz May 07, 2020 06:10 PM
Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons

Wonderful plan to contribute and inspire Dorienne! I've been holding one Birthday Mylar balloon in case I wanted to use it again. However, so it doesn't become part of the waste in the channel or some random elsewhere it might land - mountains, gardens, zoo, etc I
am going to get it, cut it, and put it in the trash. So for today, at least on my end, you can count the demise of another "one Mylar balloon at a time" in celebration of your effort! Thank you!

RHS May 07, 2020 04:21 PM
Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons

It is encouraging to see such an effort. This is not a trivial thing. The wantonness of those who think their one moment of 'joy' is worthy of the ecological harm done by thee things is appalling. Now let's do something about people who throw their used latex gloves into the streets for someone else to deal with. And the idiots who use plastic flossing devices while walking around then discard them into gutters. Who are these people?

a-1588916163 May 07, 2020 10:36 PM
Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons

Who are these people? Probably relatives of the young man who, with his friends watching yesterday, trashed his bicycle, smashing it in the street and on the curb, and left the pieces in the parkway in front of a house on Voluntario Street for someone else to deal with. (Thanks, Marborg, for taking it away today.) Or relatives of those who get boxes of food from the Foodbank at the St. George Comm. Church and then toss in the street or the parkway what they don't like, leaving cardboard boxes and other trash for people in the area to pick up. (To be sure, these are a minority of the people who are being helped.)

a-1588882917 May 07, 2020 01:21 PM
Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons

A few years ago in early June, we were sailing from Newport Beach to Avalon, Catalina, a trip of about 5 hours. En route, we saw mylar balloons floating, so we started doing man-overboard drills to pick up the balloons. By the time we got to Avalon, we had over 20 balloons. We saw others in the distance that we didn’t have time to get. It was really sad to see so much shiny debris floating on the ocean. Most of the balloons were for Dads, Grads, or Disneyland, with some Spongebob ones.

Minibeast May 07, 2020 12:03 PM
Local Girl Scout Floats Project to Deflate Use of Mylar Balloons

Years ago, I waded out into the water east of Hendry’s Beach to pull a Mylar balloon from the surf. “Happy Father’s Day” it read. At Oak Park, I fished a Mylar balloon out of the creek: “Welcome, New Baby” (or some such). Not too long ago (last year), I unwrapped a tarry “Sweet 16” Mylar balloon from a bunch of kelp at Goleta Beach. No surprise they’re found out at The Islands. I hate those damn balloons. Good job, Dorienne.

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