Posted: Wed 19th Apr 2023

Royal British Legion ditches plastic with new eco-friendly poppy made from coffee cup waste

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Apr 19th, 2023

A plastic-free Remembrance poppy partly made from coffee cup waste has been launched.

The Royal British Legion unveiled the makeover of the iconic poppy which is now completely plastic-free and easily recyclable.

This sustainable alternative, available from October 2023, will enable millions to honour the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community in an environmentally responsible manner.

Developed over the past three years in collaboration with expert partners, the new design seeks to reduce single-use plastic and create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly symbol of Remembrance.

Opting for paper over bio-based plastics, the result is a single-material solution that can be easily recycled in standard paper recycling collections.

The innovative design features bespoke red and green paper made from a blend of renewable fibres, 50% of which are recovered from waste used in coffee cup production.

This marks the first significant change to the poppy’s design in 28 years.

University College London (UCL) collaborated with the Royal British Legion to assess the environmental impact of the new poppy.

Professor Paola Lettieri (FREng) from UCL’s Department of Chemical Engineering, said: “We looked at its carbon footprint and factors like how much water and resources go into making it, in what’s called a Life Cycle Assessment.”

“By replacing the single-use plastic with a paper-based design, and increasing the amount of recycled paper used, UCL found that the new poppy design has a 40% smaller carbon footprint and a similar reduction in its overall impact on the environment.”

The Royal British Legion’s commitment to sustainability is reflected in this new design, while also ensuring the poppy remains a national symbol of Remembrance.

Director of the Poppy Appeal, Andy Taylor-White said: “We are very proud to introduce the plastic-free poppy that will not only enable people to support our Armed Forces community but also continues the RBL’s commitment to sustainability.

“The development of our new poppy has been years in the making as we’ve worked alongside experts to ensure its production is truly less impactful on the environment, and we are thrilled to now share that we have successfully removed the single-use plastic from our poppy.

“We hope our new plastic-free poppy will encourage people to support the Poppy Appeal this year and help the RBL to continue our vital work.”

The new plastic-free poppy will be available alongside current poppy stocks during the Poppy Appeal in order to reduce waste.

They can be fastened with a pin, inserted into a buttonhole, or used as a stick-on version.

Poppies containing single-use plastic can be returned to Sainsbury’s stores for recycling after the Poppy Appeal.

The Poppy Appeal is the Royal British Legion’s largest annual fundraising campaign, held every November during the period of Remembrance.

The red poppy has been worn as a symbol of support for the Armed Forces community since 1921.

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