This project addresses the problem of insufficient waste diversion by investigating geographic variation in the uptake of various residential waste diversion policies and practices. This includes waste to energy (WTE) - a set of technologies for diversion that treats residential waste as a resource for energy. We will be conducting and sharing the results of a series of social scientific studies at the intersection of municipal waste and energy policy and practice, according to the following four core objectives:
Canada is one of the highest per capita producers of waste in the developed world. Though waste hierarchy principles dictate that the proportion of waste disposed to landfill should be the smallest; in Ontario 56 per cent of residential waste is landfilled (Waste Diversion Ontario, 2011). Though Ontario has had a history of minimizing the incineration of waste, some municipalities are already utilising WTE to divert waste from landfill while others have WTE projects underway or under consideration
We aim to understand the diversity of approaches to diversion by exploring the reasons various stakeholders give for waste management decisions- from institutional managers and policy makers to residents in their households. Overall we hope to highlight both the facilitators and barriers to enhanced sustainability particularly at the intersection of waste and energy domains.
The target audiences for this project are waste policy decision-makers and influencers (e.g., facility owners and managers, municipal government managers, local community groups, non-government organizations as well as academics involved in waste and energy resource governance issues. Please see the connect page for further details.
By understanding the processes and structures that have shaped existing decisions we hope to enhance dialogue and highlight routes for more sustainable decision-making and practices around waste and energy. Further, this research will make substantive contributions to the geographies of waste, concerning if and how to incorporate WTE into more sustainable waste management. See the mobilize page for further details.