If you're someone who is conscious about your environmental footprint and you plan on attending this weekend's Lantern Fest in Erie, PA, there's something you should know.

Make sure you've done some research before attending if you feel secure about the biodegradable products within the lanterns. Why? It's been reported that, unfortunately, they're not as harmless as you believe them to be. Turns out they might be the type of lanterns that have metal wire in them to help support their structure. Not surprising, of course. How else would the lanterns keep their shape?

The metal will eventually break down, but not as quickly as the rest of the lantern. Keep in mind, though, that while the metal will break apart, it won't decompose. Also, there have been reports of the wires harming wild animals upon their decent back to land.

There's no way to know for sure whether the lanterns used at this specific lantern fest are as harmful as the ones normally used in these festivals, since thelanternfest.com's FAQ section doesn't list the materials, but it seems like common sense to assume there must be some sort of metal support in there. In order to know for sure, a message has been sent directly to the Lantern Fest's Facebook, so hopefully a response will follow.

Whether you attend or not based on receiving this information is, obviously, for you to decide. Regardless, it's worth knowing to at least store in your 'Good-To-Know' file so you can make an educated decision.

Sources: TheGuardian.com, TheLanternFest.com

***UPDATE*** - I received a response from the people of the Lantern Fest!! Good news! Per the Lantern Fest's Facebook message, the lanterns used for this particular festival "...are made from 100% biodegradable materials (bamboo, string, wax, and rice paper), no harmful metal wires are used. They burn out quickly, in about 2-3 minutes, and accumulate in one area near to the venue, where we send out multiple teams early the next morning to collect them."

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