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In a significant stride towards sustainability, the iconic Remembrance Day poppy, a symbol of tribute to fallen soldiers, is receiving a plastic-free makeover. Starting from October 2023, a new design will be introduced that can be easily recycled in ordinary paper waste collections. This environmentally conscious shift aims to reduce plastic waste and make a positive impact on the environment.
The Remembrance Day poppy has been an enduring symbol of commemoration for military personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty. Originating from the famous World War I poem, "In Flanders Fields," written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, the red poppy represents sacrifice, bravery, and gratitude for those who served their countries.
While the poppy itself carries deep meaning, its traditional design incorporated a plastic stem and leaf, making it non-recyclable and contributing to plastic pollution. Recognising the environmental impact, organisations responsible for distributing poppies have taken the initiative to find a more sustainable solution.
From October 2023 onwards, a new poppy design will be introduced, eliminating the plastic stem and leaf. The revamped poppy will consist solely of biodegradable materials, including a paper-based flower and recyclable adhesive backing. This innovation will ensure that the poppies can be easily recycled in ordinary paper waste collections, reducing the environmental impact significantly.
The move towards a plastic-free design has been made possible through collaboration between veterans' associations, charities, and environmental organisations. These stakeholders recognised the importance of preserving the symbolic significance of the poppy while embracing sustainable practices. By working together, they have developed a design that meets both objectives, ensuring a more environmentally friendly future for the iconic emblem.
Alongside the new poppy design, educational campaigns will be launched to raise awareness about the importance of recycling and sustainable practices during Remembrance Day commemorations. These initiatives will highlight the significance of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance while emphasising the need for environmental stewardship. By fostering a sense of responsibility towards the planet, these efforts can help instil a broader commitment to sustainability within society.
Mark Penny, Commercial Manager at J&B Recycling, welcomes the introduction of the new recyclable poppy. He says: “We are thrilled to hear about the introduction of the recyclable poppy. It is a significant step towards a greener future. By removing plastic components and making it easily recyclable, we can pay tribute to our fallen heroes while honouring our commitment to environmental sustainability.”
That said, Mark has a word of caution. He says, “We very much look forward to seeing the design, but if adhesive has been used, it is possible that the poppy cannot be recycled through kerbside recycling schemes and may require a more specialist approach. That said, it is a positive move away from plastic.”
The team at J&B Recycling look forward to seeing the new design later this year. Watch this space – we will let you know if the poppy is safe to put in your recycling bin at home/work.
If you are a conscientious recycler, you might find our article 'What Can I Put In My Recycling Bin' interesting and informative.