Dear Mayor Mullen and Council members,
We are writing to you as representatives and members of the US branch of the Pro Environment Balloon Alliance (PEBA USA). Several of our members are local business owners in the Malibu area. These small businesses include balloon artists, balloon twisters, entertainers, balloon decorators — valued members of your retail and arts & entertainment communities who care about the environment. Our members also include suppliers and manufacturers of those balloons. All of our member companies are very concerned about the environment, as well as the jobs and livelihoods of their employees.
We understand that local governments are coming under pressure to reduce the excessive amounts of plastic and litter in the environment. However, the majority of balloon professionals use air-filled latex balloons. Latex balloons are not plastic and are made from renewable resources.
We are very concerned with current campaigns before local councils led designed to ban the sale or use of any balloons within their borders. Ironically, these policies may unintentionally do more harm when balloons are either purchased from online vendors that drive sales away from local businesses, or are replaced by alternative materials from non-renewable resources that generate a proportionately larger amount of waste!
We believe that smart environmental management starts with education at the point of purchase and in the community. This education, combined with the current wave of industry education, offers a balanced approach to preventing deliberate balloon releases. This balanced approach will save jobs and reduce unneeded, unenforcible legislation.
PEBA formed in 2017 to be an advocacy body to promote positive changes to balloon industry practices, community education, product labeling, and corporate governance. PEBA is also committed to act as a consultative body for legislative changes relating to balloons.
The members of PEBA are committed to educating our clients, venue managers, and the public in the correct disposal of balloons through our “Don’t Let it Go, Pin it & Bin it!” campaigns. Our members are industry professionals who do not support, condone, or facilitate the deliberate release of balloons.
We believe that educating the public and retailers on the importance of not releasing helium filled balloons and being responsible with the use and disposal of balloons is a far simpler solution than creating legislation which can be difficult or impossible to enforce.
We noticed 3 errors while reviewing the draft of Ordinance No. 439 in Section 9.44.010, the Definitions section, where the materials and substances used to create and lift balloons are described. Due to these errors, we are wondering if you are receiving accurate information, not only regarding the materials used, but regarding the environmental impact of balloons as well.
As a consultative group, we would like to provide answers to any questions you may have. We are also hoping to be part of the discussion to ensure a balanced approach that addresses the intent and impact of this complex issue.