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Multicolored balloons flying to the sky. Jakkree Thampitakkull / Getty Images

We get it. Balloons are fun and make great decorations. But we hate to burst your bubble—balloons can be a big problem when they are deliberately released into the environment.

The litter is not only a blight on landscapes, waterways, trees and power lines, but balloons and balloon strings can entangle, choke or kill marine life and other animals. That's not to mention the wasteful use of helium, a non-renewable resource.

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Acting Sub Lt.niwat Thumma / EyeEm / Getty Images

The movement to ban plastic straws has gained major momentum this month, with Seattle's ban going into effect July 1 and companies like Starbucks, Hyatt and American Airlines all agreeing to phase the sucking devices out as well.

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London-based artist Sarah Tanat Jones created a set of illustrations specifically for the collaboration.

Bacardi, the world's largest privately-owned spirits company, and Lonely Whale, the innovative oceans nonprofit helping Alaska Airlines reduce plastic use, have teamed up with the goal of removing one billion plastic straws from circulation by 2020.

The pair announced their partnership Wednesday under the banner #thefuturedoesntsuck. As part of the initiative, Bacardi will also review its supply chain to see where it can eliminate other single-use plastics.

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The new strawless lids that will replace straws in Starbucks worldwide. Starbucks

Starbucks announced Monday it would become the largest food and beverage retailer to phase out plastic straws, aiming to complete the process at locations worldwide by 2020, CNN Money reported. The decision will remove more than one billion straws from circulation annually, the company said.

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Kai Schreiber / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Momentum is building in the war against single-use plastics. In the past week, a slew of major companies—including SeaWorld parks, American Express, cruise company Royal Caribbean, IKEA, A&W Canada and Burger King UK—have pledged to eliminate items such as plastic drinking straws, stirrers, lids and bags in efforts to protect our oceans and their inhabitants.

SeaWorld Entertainment announced Thursday, right before World Oceans Day, that all 12 of its theme parks have removed all single-use plastic drinking straws and shopping bags.

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One More Generation

By John R. Platt

Sometimes a couple of kids can help change the world.

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