Water fights can be eco friendly with these biodegradable water balloons!
Today’s water balloons are typically made from latex, rubber, nylon, and plastic which are usually not compostable or biodegradable – even the ones marketed as biodegradable. The Conversation even did an experiment showing as much.
Ditch them for these eco friendly water balloons and have tons of green fun this summer.
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Biodegradable water balloons
The best biodegradable water balloons are made from biodegradable fabrics and materials that are good absorbers of water and won’t cause bruises when thrown. Fabrics like cotton, wool, hemp and jute are good examples; as are materials used for compostable sponges like coconut fiber and loofah. These eco friendly water balloons are also washable, reusable and you can make them yourself.
You can also scoop firm jelly into balls to make biodegradable water balloons. They can be made with agar powder or sodium alginate and are soft, jiggly and so much fun when in use. They will melt eventually so there’s little clean up needed.
Where to buy biodegradable water balloons
It’s summer already and if you don’t have the time to make the DIY water balloons yourself, try these great options. If you do have the time though, scroll down, I’ll explain a few fun, DIY options.
#1 Cotton balls
Thrillzoo has these highly absorbent cotton balls that are perfect water balloon alternatives. They can be used for hours and are washable and reusable. The balls also come in a paper-based box, meaning the packaging isn’t single use plastic!
Get them on Amazon here.
#2 Crochet water balloon
Crochet water balloons are another great reusable alternative. Of course, you can crochet them yourself with the biodegradable materials I mentioned earlier like cotton, wool and hemp. Or strip old cotton tshirts to make tshirt yarn and use that to crochet.
Finding them to buy isn’t so easy though. You will likely find ones made with polyester and other synthetic materials on Etsy and Amazon. This set from DawnBurst on Amazon is washable and reusable but does come in plastic.
#3 Loofahs as water balloons
Loofahs are all-natural, plant-based, compostable fibers that are often used as dish or bath sponges. They absorb lots of water and become super soft, making them a wonderful alternative to plastic water balloons. They aren’t the most conventional in shape or material, but they’re still lots of fun to toss around in an epic water fight. Give them a good wash after and reuse them for another day.
Get these handmade loofah dish sponges on Amazon.
If you would rather support a zero waste retailer, then check out the Zero Waste Store for their selection of loofah sponges. I’ve linked to one below.
#4 Fiber sponges
Loofahs aren’t the only compostable dish sponges out there. There are lots of options made with wood, coconut, hemp and other natural materials. You can cut the sponges into two or four and soak them in water. They should soften and expand, making them perfect, fun projectiles for your water fight.
Try Airnex’s sponges from Amazon. They are made from wood and coconut based fibers, are washable, reusable, biodegradable and their packaging is also paper-based!
Again, if you’d rather shop from a more eco-conscious company, check out the Zero Waste Store for natural sponges. The one below is made from wood pulp.
Make your own homemade water balloons
#1 Fabric pads
If you have cotton, wool, and hemp fabrics or even old cotton tshirts lying around, then you can make your own fabric balloons.
Follow Heather’s tutorial for making stuffed fabric pads to use as alternatives to water balloons. But, in place of fleece and plastic sponges that she uses, try using biodegradable fabrics for the exterior and stuffing.
#2 Crochet ‘balloons”
I mentioned you can buy crochet water balloons before. But, the majority for sale use synthetic materials like polyester which is not biodegradable. So, it is best to use wool that do not contain synthetic fibers. Or you can repurpose an old cotton or hemp tshirt to make tshirt yarn and use that to make the “balloons.”
Jan has a great video on how to make tshirt yarn that you can follow along.
Once you are all set on the biodegradable materials you will be using, it’s time to follow along Aubrey & Aaden’s video for actually crocheting the balloon.
#3 Edible water balloons
Making edible water balloons will be a great science project to do with the kids this summer. You will need a couple special ingredients like sodium alginate (get on Amazon here) and calcium chloride (find on Amazon here). As for equipment, an ice cream scoop and a blender are all you need.
Emma’s video explains exactly how to make the jelly-like water balloons. She even used juice to make colorful ones.
You can also make agar agar jelly and use an ice cream scoop to carve out some agar jelly balls.
Pailin explains how to use agar agar strands and powder (get the powder on Amazon) in her video below. I suggest boiling about 10 liters of water and 10 teaspoons of the powder together. Pour the mixture into a tall container and after the jelly has cooled and set, use the ice cream scoop to create the balls.
What else do you use as biodegradable water balloons? Let me know in the comments.