Poppies redesigned as plastic free so you can pin them on with pride

Remembrance poppies will be plastic-free and recyclable for the first time this year.

New eco versions will be available from thousands of volunteers or at major supermarkets from today.

The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal 2023 is launching with the first redesign, right, of the historic symbol in a generation.

People can still buy the older versions, which can be recycled at Sainsbury’s supermarkets, as the charity looks to clear old stock.

The public are being asked to wear a poppy as a show of solidarity towards the Armed Forces community in the lead-up to Remembrance Sunday, which falls on November 12.

It also raises vital funds to support veterans, serving personnel and their families.

Actress Dame Joanna Lumley, singer and presenter Mica Paris and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth will be showing their support for the new design, the RBL said.

The charity said it has been developing the poppy for three years to cut single-use plastic.

The new flowers are entirely paper, with sources including the offcuts of disposable coffee cups.

They can be fastened with a pin in the stem or worn in a buttonhole. There is also a stick-on version. The RBL, which makes 170,000 poppies daily ahead of Remembrance Sunday, said the redesign could cut emissions by 40%.

It is the first since the mid-1990s, though there have been more than 10 versions, including those hand-crafted in red cotton with wire stems in the 1920s and a cardboard “austerity poppy” in the 1940s.

D-Day and Royal Navy veteran John Roberts, 99, from Whitstable, Kent, said over the years he has worn lots of different versions but the meaning remains.

He said: “During the D-Day landings my ship was just offshore at Sword Beach. I witnessed the destruction happening on land – I’d never seen anything like it and never saw anything like it again.

“I was one of the lucky ones who survived as our ship was narrowly missed by a torpedo, so I wear my poppy to remember those who weren’t so lucky.”

Appeal director Andy Taylor-Whyte spoke of his pride “that the public can wear this poignant symbol of remembrance with less impact on the environment”.

He said the cash raised helped more than 27,000 people in the Armed Forces community last year.

The charity worked alongside designers Matter and bespoke paper supplier James Cropper on the new design.

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