6. Macy’s is the world’s second-largest consumer of helium

Workers attach an air hose to one of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons

Macy’s uses an average of 12,000 cubic feet of helium per balloon (enough to fill about 2,500 bathtubs), making it the largest helium consumer after the U.S. government. To test the balloons before the parade, however, they use air rather than helium to inflate each balloon chamber. If the balloon can float for six hours, it passes the test.

Helium is a finite resource and it has many uses outside of making giant balloons float, especially in the scientific and medical fields. Macy’s has attempted various methods of recapturing and recycling the helium used in their balloons, but none have been effective yet.