There are two types of balloons in wide general use - latex and mylar. This distinction is important because each type requires different handling. Latex balloons are easily identified by their elastic character and are composed of natural rubber sap and small amounts of non-toxic coagulants and pigments. They are 100% bio-degradable. When exposed to outdoor elements they are completely consumed by soil or water micro-organisms at a rate quicker than that experienced by an oak leaf under identical conditions. In much the same way maple syrup is harvested from the maple tree, the production of latex balloons contributes positively to the preservation of tropical rain forests.