Poppy gets ‘planet-friendly’ makeover for Remembrance Day 2023

The new plastic-free poppy is unveiled for this year's Rememberance Day. Credit: PA

For over a century people have worn a red poppy to remember those who lost their lives in World War One - but this year the iconic flower will get a green makeover.

The poppy will be made without plastic for the first time, in a 'planet friendly' transformation.

Instead the historic symbol will be created with recylable paper, using a recipe of 50% discarded coffee cups and the rest will be renewable fibres, the Royal British Legion said.

The redesign took three years to develop with the help of experts at University College London (UCL).

Alongside the pin-on version, adhesive poppies will also be for sale.

Andy Taylor-Whyte, Poppy Appeal director at the Royal British Legion, described the new design as an “enduring symbol of remembrance, as well as being more planet-friendly”.

He said: “We’re so proud to unveil our plastic-free poppy, which is completely recyclable, and hope that this will encourage more people than ever to take part in this year’s Poppy Appeal and show support to our armed forces community.

“After years of work and collaboration with our partners designing a new poppy, creating new paper and machinery and road-testing it for durability and colour-fastness, we have been able to eliminate single-use plastic and create a poppy that is an enduring symbol of respect and remembrance as well as being more planet-friendly.

“We’d like to encourage everyone to get a poppy this year when they become available.

“The money raised will allow us to provide expert advice and guidance to support the armed forces community across a wide range of issues, including mobility, homelessness, life challenges such as family breakdowns, and mental health.”

In a study of its production, scientists at UCL said the new poppy would reduce its carbon footprint significantly.

Professor Paola Lettieri, from the university’s Department of Chemical Engineering, said: “By replacing the single-use plastic with a paper-based design, and increasing the amount of recycled paper used, we found that the new poppy design has a 40% smaller carbon footprint and a similar reduction in its overall impact on the environment.”

The new poppy will be sold alongside remaining stocks of the current poppy from October 26 until Remembrance Sunday on November 12.

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