Image shows a pile of the new Royal British Legion poppy designs

Royal British Legion reveals plastic-free poppy design

Design consultancy Matter has created a fully recyclable paper redesign of the charity’s symbolic poppy, which previously used plastic

Millions of poppies are given out each year across the UK to help raise money for the Poppy Appeal, which supports serving and former members of the armed forces, and to symbolise remembrance. As such, the new design of the Royal British Legion’s poppy would have to be reproducible on a mass scale without using adhesives.

Matter landed on the final design following hundreds of iterations, which tested the robustness of the new poppy, among other criteria. It uses bespoke papers, Poppy Green and Poppy Red, developed by paper manufacturer James Cropper, which are constituted of 50% recycled fibres derived from the production of coffee cups and 50% renewable wood fibre. The new approach uses “print finish details that lift 3D form”, according to Matter design director John Macdonald.

“We didn’t want to simply reduce single use plastic, but to eliminate it completely,” says Macdonald. “And we didn’t want to replace plastic parts with expensive and complicated bio-based plastics,” which are often pitched as a sustainable solution but have come under fire for actually being counterintuitive in this regard.

“Paper offered a single-material solution that could be easily recycled, as well as offering a bold, elegant approach for the next generation of poppies,” he continues. The redesign promises to involve 40% less carbon emissions than before.

The plastic-free poppy design will be rolled out in time for this year’s Poppy Appeal, launching in October, alongside remaining stock.

Image shows a tabletop covered in cut-out poppy shapes
Image shows a person holding a leaf cut-out against green paper next to red paper as part of the redesign of the Royal British Legion poppy