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British Legion follow white poppy example and make red poppies plastic-free

A white poppy and a red poppy

British Legion follow white poppy example and make red poppies plastic-free

White poppy wearers have welcomed plans to make red poppies recyclable, while urging the British Legion to recognise the link between climate change and war.

White poppies, distributed by the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), have been enitrely plastic-free and recyclable since last year. The Royal British Legion who produce red poppies, have announced that the same will be true for red poppies from this year.

The PPU welcomed the news, but urged the British Legion to recognise that if they want to tackle climate change, they need to resist war. The PPU has long pointed out that climate change and war are fuelling each other.

For every pound spent on tackling climate change, the UK government spends more than £7 on war and preparations for war, according to calculations by Scientists for Global Responsibility (SGR).

The PPU also called on the British Legion to make their remembrance work more meaningful by committing to commemoration of all victims of war, military and civilian, of all nationalities.

At present the British Legion say that remembrance is only for British and allied armed forces personnel. After year of criticism for excluding civilians, they said in 2019 that they also "acknowledge" civilian casualties. The Legion also maintain that red poppies show "support for the armed forces".

In contrast, white poppies represent remembrance for all victims of war of all nationalities, as well as a commitment to peace and a rejection of miltiarism.

It is 90 years this year since white poppies were first worn. They were launched in 1933 by the Women's Co-operative Guild, 12 years after the launch of red poppies in 1921. The PPU took over responsibility for white poppies in 1981.

"We have received a very positive response to recyclable white poppies since launching the new design last year," said Geoff Tibbs, the PPU's Remembrance Project Manager. "We're pleased that the British Legion are following our example and making their poppies plastic-free. I hope they will go much further and recognise that war is one of the biggest factors fuelling climate change."

He continued, "To tackle climate change, we need to challenge war and militarism. Following the British Legion's support for recyclable poppies, it would be great to see them rejecting militaristic approaches to remembrance and commemorating all victims of war, military and civilian, of all nationalities."


Find out more about white poppies and the PPU's approach to Remembrance.