During the summer, my kids have a love affair with water balloons — and why not? They’re fun, they cool you down, and your whole purpose is to throw and break them. Bingo! The only problem? Post-water balloons, the yard looks like the remains of a latex factory explosion. But worse, all that non-biodegradable waste isn’t helping the planet or the animals on it.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service even wrote a post, describing what happens to birds, turtles and other animals who commonly mistake balloons for food. (Warning: tough photos at that link.)

One solution is to use more eco-friendly water balloons. While you should definitely still clean them up from your lawn afterwards (nothing biodegrades in a day), they do help deliver the fun of water balloons in different ways, without so much of the mess or the risk to the animals we love. That’s a win for everyone.

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Related: Summer ice activities. They’re so hot right now.

1. The biodegradable water balloon

Eco-friendly water balloons: Bunch O Balloons

If you ever go to Target or watch the occasional informercial, surely you’ve seen Bunch O Balloons. Each bunch contains 30 or so balloons that you attach to a water spigot. After they’re filled, the balloons self-tie and drop into a bucket all at once, like heavy grapes.

I was totally surprised to learn that this infomercial staple is actually a set of eco-friendly water balloons that are biodegradable. Plus, the plastic straws used to fill the balloons are made from recycled plastic (and they’re also recyclable).

That makes me feel a whole lot better about the many bunches we are sure to be buying this summer.

2 The reusable water balloon

Eco-friendly water balloons: Water Wubble

Now. These Water Wubbles may look, uh, a little strange when they’re all filled up and ready to go, but rest assured that they’re everything a kid wants in a water balloon when it comes to fun. They’re made with stretchy, almost-impossible–to-break rubber (believe me, my kids gave it the old college try), and they self-seal after you fill them. So while the water explodes out of them on impact, the balloon stays intact.

They’re not biodegradable, but they are reusable, making them a good eco-friendly balloon options. Just think: the eight included in each set take the place of hundreds of normal balloons.

3 The water balloon alternative

Eco-friendly water balloons: Crochet Water Balloons by Strange Loops Crafts

These crocheted water balloons by Strange Loops Crafts aren’t eco-friendly water balloons in the strictest sense, because they’re not really balloons at all. But you can fill them with water over and over again, which means zero waste — and maybe a little more time at the water pump. Plus, aren’t they cute?

Top photo: Anerma via Pixabay

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