Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Geography

Supervisor

Dr. Jamie Baxter

Abstract

Currently in Ontario there is an increasing amount of waste and a need for solutions other than landfills to deal with this waste, with diversion rates at 48% and landfills filling up more researched is needed to explore this topic (WDO. 2014). This study uses a survey of households in Ontario, Canada to better understand if people will divert less material if they knew their waste was going to a WtE facility, levels of support for WtE facilities and expressed diversion behaviours. Participants were randomly selected from communities with different end-of-stream waste solutions with and without WtE: London which has a commercial WtE Anaerobic Digestion (AD) facility, Brampton which has WtE Incinerator, which has operated for over two decades, Toronto which exports most of their waste and has a small AD facility without WtE, and Durham which has a recently opened WtE Incinerator. The main hypotheses are that people will intend to divert less of their waste if they know their waste will go to a WtE facility while at the same time that WtE facilities will be supported over other sorts of end-of-stream facilities. While significant predictors of expressed diversion behaviour were expected to be convenience to recycle/compost and motivation to recycle/compost. Health factors were expected to be better predictors for support for WtE. The results showed that between 12 and 33% of respondents would divert less while WtE facilities are favoured six times more than non-WtE facilities. While convenience did not predict expressed diversion behaviour as expected while health and environmental concern did predict support. Perhaps more importantly it was found that a significant portion of people would divert less material ranging from 12% to 33% depending on facility type as well support for WtE facilities is high especially WtE AD facilities. Despite the potential implication that WtE will encourage even less diversion into the future currently the results show that Courtice has the best expressed diversion behaviour, but the WtE incinerator there has been operational less than a year so this could change.


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