Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Baxter, Jamie


Many Canadian municipalities have been looking for alternative sustainable waste management solutions since landfill capacity has been decreasing and siting new facilities often results in vehement local opposition. In Ontario, there is no provincial mandate for organic waste diversion targets, where most large-sized municipalities have implemented a Green Bin program while other jurisdictions of varying size still have not. This paper uses discourse analysis to explore predominant and counter discourses that have resulted in Guelph sustaining a Green Bin program, while London has not implemented a Green Bin. Manuscript one explores the interaction of provincial and local municipal discourses in London, Ontario in not adopting a Green Bin program. The findings of this study contribute to understanding the power of discourses in technological and environmental debates to overcome the inertia of the status quo. To examine this further, manuscript two is a comparative case study focused on two municipalities, London and Guelph each with a different approach to the management of organic waste as it relates to Green Bin. This study identified the prominent discourses that represent eco-centric positions, as found in Guelph, are more often discursively juxtaposed against economic conservatism discourses, such as in London. In this study, the discursive positions (eco-centric and conservative) are ingrained within the local municipal discourse and is highly representative of a community coherence on an environmental issue. Overall, the implications of this study find that there is an interface between community coherence and perceived risk of new technology. Such that, in the face of crisis or perceived risk, the community tends to be risk averse, prompting less risky intermediary acceptable risks to be supported.