Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Defra considers promoting the "Four R's"

Plans for a nationwide public relations campaign to expand the debate on waste are being considered by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). A document leaked last weekend titled Introduction to Defra Residual Waste Campaign states how Defra seeks to challenge misunderstandings about the alternative methods in order for the public to make better-informed decisions. It also suggests new positioning of waste messages to the public stating that the Three Rs should become the Four Rs: reducing, reusing, recycling plus recover energy. Defra has been advised by marketing consultancy Munro & Forster (M&F) who created the document. A Defra spokeswoman said: M&F has provided a pitch to Defra with some ideas for expanding the debate on waste. This is not a Defra document and no commitment has been made to taking these proposals forward. M&F took part in a competitive pitch to Defra organised by Central Office of Information (COI) alongside two other public relation agencies. M&F has been commissioned through the COI to carry out preparatory work, should they receive ministerial approval. This is normal practice in the development of Government communications activities. It does not mean that the activity has been given clearance to proceed. The detail of the proposals has naturally changed significantly since the pitch process and the proposals in the document do not accurately reflect the preparatory work M&F are conducting for Defra. The document suggested that Defra should employ eco-celebs to endorse its campaign supporting energy from waste (EfW) plants to convince the public of their success stories. A shortlist of celebrities for the campaign included TV presenter Ben Fogle, comedian Stephen Fry and the actor Tony Robinson. Defra is also considering highlighting success stories such as the SELCHP incinerator based in South-East London to the public via virtual visitor centres. If given the green light plans could be given the go-ahead as early as March 2008. Friends of the Earth (FoE) has criticised the campaign and denounced Defras promotion of incinerators. Speaking to MRW FoE waste campaigner Dr Michael Warhurst said: Defra realises that the public oppose the use of incinerators. It is a waste of public money and it will not work. It [Defra] is already under budget pressure and it is endorsing this £1m campaign. The public do not even follow celebrities particularly, even if Defra get celebrities to endorse incinerators. Defra should be focusing on implementing new properties that will increase the level of recycling and minimise the impact on the climate. "We prefer flexible options of technology such as certain Mechanical Biological Treatment facilities. They are designed to optimise recycling and decrease waste volumes. Whereas incinerators are expensive, cannot be adapted and require a constant mass of waste streams to keep them going.

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.