Biodegradable Gnome Balloons Leave A Garden Behind

Biodegradable Balloon Gnomes.jpg

The whole idea of packaging embedded with seeds has been a Cradle-to-Cradle staple for a long time (seed "bombs" were even used by the Green Guerillas in New York in the 1970s) though never successfully transferred to the mainstream. Since packaging still has so far to go to be anything approaching sustainable (Bought any electronic media lately? It's seemingly swathed in a double layer of impenetrable and unredeemable plastic) any efforts to point out that packaging need not be so over-the-top and unfriendly are still welcome.

Helium-filled gnome balloons made from fully biodegradable PLA (polyactide) film and lined with flower seeds were an entry in the Temporären Gärten art manifestation in Aachen, Germany this summer. studioTX, the art and engineering firm responsible for the gnome balloons, started out with the aim to show a different take on yard art - generally a strange kitschy subculture with things like gnomes, trolls, ostriches and worse - and planned to use mylar in its gnome balloons until discovering the harm the film can cause to wild life. So a switch was made to NatureWorks biodegradable helium-fillable film with a chalk-based paint on the inside for decoration. Once placed in a yard (using grass clumps as ballast) the balloon decomposes in 4 to 6 weeks and should yield a burst of meadow flowers next summer.

Instead of just using embedded seeds as a novelty, why aren't packagers to do their part in reducing waste. It comes down to a simple cost and convention equation. Any serious home recycler and composter after a while realizes their only trash is plastic packaging. If more of it was natural plastic embedded with seeds the chance to beautify our surroundings would grow exponentially. At the very least we should see more PLA balloons at green parties and other gatherings. Via ::Inhabitatand Moonen Packaging (Dutch only)

Read more on embedded seeds:
Bloomin' Flower Cards
Sharpen, Write, Plant, Repeat: "Seed of a Pen" by Zeev Zohar

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