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Next Remembrance Day forget the plastic poppy!

November 14, 2013

poppy-trash-02

In my neighbourhood the plastic poppies blow,
between the buildings, row on row…

Remembrance Day is three days past and it’s nearly the middle of November. Some people will wear their plastic poppies at least through the week. Some who’ve stopped wearing them have put them safely aside until next year. Many people will throw them away, but, thanks to the low-tech way they’re put together, many more people have been losing them since they became available over a week ago. However it happens, every November the streets, sidewalks, and alleys end up dotted, here and there, with discarded plastic poppies.

Why are we so stuck on these pokey plastic poppies?

You could take this one home, maybe in your front bike tire.

Mostly what I see is just the red “flower” by itself, which is bad enough, but sometimes it’s the entire assemblage, pin and all. That pin is a hazard just the same as broken glass; it can puncture a pneumatic tire, like on a bicycle, or a baby stroller. And it can seriously injure the pad on the bottom of a dog’s paw, as I said — just like broken glass.

Can’t pin the blame on the British Legion

Royal British Legion paper poppy. Click to image to go to the Wikimedia image source.

In 2003, the British Legion, which sells about 30 million Remembrance Day poppies each year, reportedly stopped supplying steel pins with the poppies for fear of damage claims by injured members of the public. Many Legion branches began offering pin-less alternatives such as stickers. Today’s British Legion poppy is mostly made of paper, has a plastic stem rather than a steel pin, and is very attractive.

Until we here in Canada can get a company like TerraCycle to put up receptacles for discarded plastic poppies, we need to take matters in hand ourselves. The simplest thing is to reuse the same plastic poppy, but that’s easier said than done. Those stick pins make a terrible fastner. I can think of a few ways to “MacGyver” your existing plastic poppy to make it less lossy:

  • Using epoxy, replace the stick pin with a safety pin — I’ve seen this done.
  • Use self-adhesive Velcro. The hook side will stick to nappy fabrics like fleece and wool.
  • A magnet epoxied to the poppy back sticks to a piece of metal on the other side of fabric (grocery store name tags are often made this way).
  • Whatever you replace the pin with you’ll need to glue down the green bit.

Alternately, you could scan a plastic poppy and impose it using word processing software like LibreOffice on a mailing label template. Print it on the appropriate adhesive-back label sheet using a colour inkjet. Cut out a poppy as needed and stick.

felt-poppyPoppy project for the whole family

Get some coloured felt, some glue, a pair of scissors, and everything else listed in these complete instructions, and have some fun making your own felt poppies for Remembrance Day.

You can also dust off your credit card and do a search on poppy brooch. Whatever you do, you can still donate money to the poppy fund.

2 Comments
  1. Karen permalink

    I don’t think I’ve ever got home with my poppy. Next day, get another and loose it. Now that I have use of only one hand can’t even pin it on. Even if I could it would disappear anyway. So now I just donate and don’t take one.
    Karen

    • I lost my first one riding my bike in traffic. I kept my second one only because I folded the pin (learned that from Freemasons), but then it was hard to remove. I found a third poppy on the sidewalk and kept it for about a day, only because twice I realized in time it had fallen off my hoodie and picked it up.

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