AFTER YEARS OF INCREASED DEMAND for white poppies, today (26 September) sees the launch of a new design that means white poppies are entirely plastic-free and recyclable in household recycling facilities.

Tens of thousands of the new white poppies have been produced ahead of this year’s Remembrance Day by Calverts, a workers’ co-operative in east London.

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU), the pacifist group that oversees and distributes white poppies, has been working with Calvert’s for two years to ensure that the poppies are produced in line with nonviolent principles, ethical working practices and a commitment to tackling the climate emergency.

The new recyclable poppies are easier to attach and are expected to be more durable than previous white poppies. They are are printed using plant-based, biodegradable inks. There will be no increase in the cost.

The new white poppies are available from today from the PPU website. Over 200 shops and other outlets around the UK are expected to sell them in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday. The number of white poppy outlets has more than doubled in the last five years.

The PPU said today that working for peace must go hand in hand with tackling the climate emergency. They added that war and climate change are fuelling each other.

White poppies represent remembrance for all victims of war of all nationalities, a commitment to peace and a rejection of militarism. In contrast, the British Legion, who produce red poppies, say remembrance should be restricted to UK and allied armed forces personnel. White poppies have been worn in the run-up to Remembrance Day since 1933.

Geoff Tibbs, the PPU’s Remembrance Project Manager, said: “Climate change and militarism fuel each other. The world’s militaries are a major source of carbon emissions, while climate breakdown makes wars more likely. So it’s vital that the white poppy, a symbol of remembrance for all victims of war, reflects our commitment to the environment.

“Remembering all victims of war, including wars happening now, should go hand in hand with challenging militarism and the climate crisis.

“The white poppy is a powerful symbol of peace and remembrance for so many people. We are delighted to work with Calverts, a workers’ co-operative, on a design that’s both environmentally conscious and socially responsible.”

White poppies represent remembrance for all victims of war, a commitment to peace and a rejection of militarism. They were founded by the Co-operative Women’s Guild in 1933 and have been distributed by the Peace Pledge Union since 1981.

Money raised through white poppy sales goes towards promoting nonviolent approaches to conflict and producing educational materials. Many white poppy wearers also donate to charities supporting veterans or other victims of war.

The last decade has seen significantly increased demand for white poppies. In 2021, more than 300 orders were placed for the PPU’s Remembrance and White Poppies Education Pack, aimed at schools, the highest number since it was launched in 2017. Last year also saw an increase in the use of white poppies in ceremonies in city centres and universities. For example, Leicester University laid wreaths of both red and white poppies for the first time. In 2018, the centenary of the end of World War One, over 122,000 white poppies were distributed; the highest number since white poppies were introduced in 1933.

* Frequently Asked Questions on white poppies here

* Source: Peace Pledge Union