Latex: Standard balloons are made from latex, an organic material, made from the sap of a rubber tree. These balloons are biodegradable and decompose rapidly. Good news for the landfill, bad news for recycling fanatics, as there is no current re-use market for them.
Mylar: Mylar balloons are made with a plastic/nylon, synthetic material that is also recyclable and reusable, but it does not biodegrade. They will be in the landfills forever, so try to keep these for crafts, or recycle them if your local recycling program accepts them.
Reuse: Several ideas for reusing and up cycling balloons, particularly Mylar balloons, are available for the DIY amateur, including Weed Mat, Packing Material, and Gift Bags.
Rescue: Give old mylar balloons new life with a simple helium transfusion! Save the old balloons for the next time a celebration is needed and perform a transfusion of your own.
Do you have any clever ideas or DIY suggestions for reusing, recycling, up cycling or saving balloons from a buried destiny? Comments welcome!