Introducing the new plastic-free poppy, made entirely from paper

Available from October 2023, the new poppy is made from an innovative blend of renewable fibres from responsible sources and can be recycled in ordinary paper recycling collections.

Removing single-use plastic

We’ve been developing the plastic-free poppy for the last three years, in collaboration with expert partners, in efforts to reduce its use of single-use plastic and be economical, sustainable, and less impactful to the environment.

We set out not just to simply reduce single use plastic, but to eliminate it completely.

Hundreds of iterations were explored during the design process, scrutinising form, finish and usability. Paper was chosen over expensive and complicated bio-based plastics to create a single-material solution that can be easily recycled.

The new poppy design has a 40% smaller carbon footprint Professor Paola Lettieri, University College London

Our new plastic-free poppy is created from bespoke red and green paper, which has been produced from a blend of renewable fibres from responsible sources, 50 percent of which has been recovered from the waste used in the production of coffee cups.  

And to assess the environmental impact of the new poppy, and ensure its sustainability, we worked with experts at University College London. 

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.”


Maintaining a national icon

Maintaining the iconic poppy design and leaf shape, this is the first time in 28 years that a new poppy has been developed.

The change reinforces RBL’s drive to be more sustainable and reduce its impact on the environment, while ensuring that the poppy continues to be a national symbol of Remembrance for the service and sacrifices of the Armed Forces community.

Director of the Poppy Appeal, Andy Taylor-Whyte 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.”

Available this Poppy Appeal

The plastic-free poppy will be available alongside remaining stocks of the current poppy to reduce any waste of poppies already produced, and can be fastened with a pin or inserted into a buttonhole.

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

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