Study 2: Impacts of waste incineration on attitudes toward waste diversion

Research Problem and Objectives

There is concern that the adoption of waste to energy (WTE) technology, particuarly that involving the direct incineration of waste will work against efforts at increasing diversion rates.  That is, since the waste is a feedstock for energy, residents may consider sending waste to an incinerator that generates energy, sustainable enough. Though Waste Diversion Ontario is already  collecting important data on muncipal diversion rates, more needs to be understood about the attitudes of residents and why they do or do not divert waste in a WTE context. This study will examine such issues by exploring the self-assessed  impact of having local WTE on diversion attitudes and practices . This will be done through a mail-out mail-back survey questionnaire. This study will contribute to research objective 3.

Case Communities and Methodology

Durham: pending incineration WTE

Peel: existing and pending incineration WTE

Toronto: comparison/control community

The research involves a comparative case study design whereby residents in a ccommunity with an existing WTE incinerator will be compared to residents in a community with a WTE incinerator currently under construction. The residents will be sampled according to distance zones outward from the facility.

 The dependent variable will be a “household waste diversion” index which will be correlated with various predictor variables like: proximity to the facility, existing wasting behaviours, worldviews, attitudes towards WTE, gender, age, socio-economic status.

Expected Contributions

Understanding the impacts of waste incineration on residents’recycling attitudes will help inform future waste management practices and strategies. 

Learn More

To learn more about this study please contact us, or sign up to receive notification of updates.


ReWaRP findings published in RCR Journal

People will divert less if they know their discards are going to an energy from waste facility. See the Publications secttion of the mobilize page to find a links to the article and to the paper. 08 April 2020See More

ReWaRP interviewed by CBC

The CBC interviewed Virginia Maclaren about diverting plastics and the use of waste-to-energy facilities. She cites our study findings and the Waste Management paper. See the mobilize page to find a links to the article and to the paper. 21 September 2018See More

Workshop presentation files posted The workshop was held last Thursday with 25 in-person participants and an additional 10 participating online via the webinar feed. We have posted the presentation files as pdf's, on the mobilize page 13 June 2016See More

Workshop/Webinar On June 9 we are hosting a workshop "Waste-to-Energy Policy and Perceptions Research Results" in Toronto. The goal is to bring together key stakeholders and share research findings for feedback and set an agenda for ongoing research and stakeholder interaction. Invitations have been sent out already. If you would like to participate and have not been sent an invite please email us: 19 May 2016See More

Study 2 first survey results published The data from waves 1 and 2 of the survey for study 2 will soon appear in the journal Waste Management 29 Feb 2016See More

Wave 3 of WtE survey mailed out A third wave of our survey has been mailed out to track longitudinal views on WtE, diversion and waste facilities. 13 Nov 2015See More

Researchers attend advisory committee meeting - On Sept. 30 Yvonne and Jennifer attended the Energy from Waste - Waste Management Advisory Committee (EFW-WMAC)to learn more about facility governance. 19 Oct 2014See More

Survey on waste-to-energy and diversion behaviours - This summer we sent out a postage-paid mail-back questionnaire to a random sample of residents living: i) near the Algonquin Power facility in Brampton, ii) near the Durham York Energy Centre, and iii) in Toronto. 15 Sept 2014See More

Solid Waste Management Partnerships Workshop - Virginia and Jamie participated in the Solid Waste Management Partnerships Workshop hosted by the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy. 24 June 2014See More

Alltreat farms - The research team paid a visit to the Alltreat composting facility in Arthur Ontario. 8 October 2013See More

Yvonne Ho - joins the research team. She will be conducting a survey based study for her 4th year... 5 September 2013See More

Fieldtrips – Yvonne, Virginia and Jamie visit Toronto’s Greenbin facility and the Algonquin Power waste... 24 July 2013See More

Yvonne R. has begun fieldwork for her PhD – conducting face-to-face in-depth interview with waste policy stakeholders. 2 July 2013See More