KAYMONT BALLOONS ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
All of our balloons start as natural latex sourced from rubber trees at a 2500-acre locally owned and operated farm in Southeast Asia. Trees are sustainably grown and harvested year round. The raw materials are transported to the TOTEX factory in Japan where they are treated and refined for balloon molding. During the process of refining the natural latex, no harmful chemicals, preservatives or petroleum hydrocarbons are added to the compound. Our balloons are compliant with the EPA's Toxic Substances Control Act, contain no PFAS (Forever Chemicals), no PAHs (Polycyclic-Aromatic Hydrocarbons), and no petroleum-derived MOHs (Mineral Oil Hydrocarbons.) After being molded with a unique and proprietary method that ensures uniformity, every balloon is inspected and packaged.
Kaymont imports all of our balloons directly from the manufacturer and over 95% of our balloons via sea freight. Sea freight is up to 47 times more fuel efficient per ton/mile than air freight cargo. This method of import takes more time, forecasting and coordination than air freight deliveries, but we are able to save costs and lower our carbon footprint this way. Shipments are then transported via rail instead of by truck, which is at least three times as fuel efficient per ton/mile. Our largest customers have their deliveries drop shipped to their doors, eliminating unnecessary travel time. Finally, a rotating stock of fresh balloons are stored at our temperature and humidity controlled office in Melbourne, FL.
FLIGHT & BURST
Kaymont balloons reach or exceed their performance specs over 99.9% of the time, according to public sounding records from the National Weather Service. The moment a balloon is prepared for a sounding, it begins its decomposition. Once launched and at a low pressure altitude, the material stretches and is exposed to direct UV rays, substantially increasing the degradation of the balloon. Unlike balloons with neoprene or chemical preservatives, ours cannot stay exposed to sunlight for long periods of time without bursting.
Kaymont balloons have a distinct pattern at the moment of burst- a simultaneous shattering across the entire surface of the balloon. At this moment, a single piece of latex turns into hundreds of small fragments. The latex pieces will fall back to Earth and continue degrading, enhanced by the additional surface area of hundreds of small pieces. Unlike party balloons which may tear along a seam and come back down to land whole, our balloons will always be completely unrecognizable once their fragments return to the ground.
Within 24 months, our balloon fragments are completely homogeneous with soil. Within 36 months in saltwater, the fragments have completely dissolved. A common misconception is that natural latex weather balloons are not biodegradable, and this is because party and display balloon companies have advertised their products as natural latex. These other products contain neoprene, artificial dyes and preservatives, and have long term negative effects on the environment and wildlife as they may take decades or centuries to degrade. Unlike party balloons, Kaymont weather balloons perform important scientific work, help provide the public with critical long term weather forecasts, and completely biodegrade within a relatively short time frame.
Weather balloons are a critical part of the life-safety network in the United States. Meteorological balloons are a low cost, highly reliable and extremely effective way to gather data from 30,000-130,000 feet. Instruments carried by weather balloons offer meteorologists the data needed for 5-10 day forecasts. Additionally, radiosonde data helps predict the path and intensity of extreme weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes, enhancing the effectiveness of our early warnings. Balloon-carried radiosonde data also helps ensure safe commercial flights, safe space vehicle launches, a high readiness for our military across multiple branches and critical scientific research above the Ozone layer and throughout near-space.
Although we cannot reasonably eliminate all environmental impacts of the manufacturing, distribution and biodegradation of weather balloons, Kaymont proudly stands behind our balloons as the best option by far. After 40 years of twice daily launches across the US, our impact has only ever been a 24-36 month revolving door of biodegradation. Meanwhile, untold lives have been improved or saved thanks to the critical life safety networks our balloons support.
Where we can improve our products, supply chain and environmental impact, we innovate. Working with our manufacturing partners, Kaymont conducts regular testing of new compounds, organic dyes, packaging and shipping options to improve our product line. From burst pattern optimization to marine life impact testing, we constantly look for new ways to further reduce our carbon and pollution footprints. As we look to the future, we are excited to be at the forefront of environmentally mindful product design and sustainable high altitude ballooning.
For more information or to speak with our team, please give us a call at (631) 951-9100 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org