Lower Eastern Shore, MD – As a kick-off for its new REALTORS® Reuse Recycle initiative, the Coastal Association of REALTORS® (Coastal) has launched a campaign to encourage its members to seek alternatives to balloons in all marketing efforts.
All of Coastal’s over 1,000 members have been asked to sign a pledge on Change.org stating they will no longer use balloons at events, for open houses, or for any other activity.
The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s annual International Coastal Cleanup report states that, from 2008 to 2016, almost 300,000 balloons were found on U.S. beaches.
According to Balloons Blow, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public on the dangers associated with balloon releases, latex balloons are not natural or biodegradable, despite what their packaging may say. Animals, including birds and marine life, often mistake balloons as food and the latex blocks their digestive system, causing a very painful and slow death. The ribbons and strings tied to balloons become entanglement hazards for animals, who become unable to move or feed. Additionally, filling balloons is wasteful, as there is a limited supply of helium and it should be conserved for where it is critically needed, such as for medical and technology uses. Finally, mylar or foil balloons can cause power outages and spark fires when they come in contact with electric power equipment.
“Even if a person is not intentionally releasing a balloon, you just never know where it will end up,” said Coastal President Bernie Flax. “REALTORS® are dedicated to protecting the Lower Shore’s natural resources and wildlife. We don’t want to see any balloons on our beaches and we definitely don’t want any animals to choke on balloons.”
As an alternative for open house events, Coastal recommends its members use an Open House flag, which may be purchased at the association office and will last much longer than a tank of helium. The association also recommends using directional signage, reusable balloons, sandwich board signage, and increased advertising and social media marketing.
“Modern technology allows for potential buyers to use their GPS to find open houses, so you don’t necessarily need balloons,” Flax said. “However, you should always check with local government and HOA regulations to determine what is allowed.”
The REALTORS® Reuse Recycle initiative will continue to encourage environmental stewardship to members of Coastal and the public.
Lower For more information about the Coastal, visit www.coastalrealtors.org.