Canadian Manufacturing

Public opinion of energy-from-waste high in Canada: poll

Poll found 69 per cent of respondents viewed energy-from-waste favourably, trailing only solar and wind

TORONTO—Energy-from-waste solutions are held in high regard across the country, according to a new poll, with only solar and wind energy generation leaving better impressions on Canadians.

Commissioned by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association (CPIA), the poll found 69 per cent of respondents viewed energy-from-waste favourably, trailing only solar and wind, at 90 per cent and 75 per cent, respectively.

Only 34 per cent of respondents said they had a favourable impression of nuclear generation, ahead of coal generation (19 per cent), but behind natural gas at 59 per cent and oil (37 per cent).

What’s more, the poll found favourable support for non-recyclable plastic feedstock going to an energy-to-waste plant rather, with 89 per cent of Canadians preferring that route.

That view also seems to be a pan-Canadian one, with regional results ranging from 85 per cent support in Quebec, to 87 per cent in British Columbia, 88 per cent in Alberta, 90 per cent in Ontario, 92 per cent in Atlantic Canada, and 94 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

“These polling results help us to understand the perceptions of the Canadian public when it comes to managing unrecyclable plastics,” Krista Friesen, CPIA vice-president of sustainability, said in the poll’s release.

“While we are very committed to building the infrastructure to collect and recycle all types of plastics, we know there is a certain percentage of the material that is unrecyclable due to contamination or lack of mechanical technology. For those materials, we believe that alternative technologies which allow for energy recovery have an important role to play in Canada’s waste hierarchy.”

Some 63 per cent of respondents indicated they would support the use of energy-from-waste in their immediate community.

Conducted by research firm Nielsen in April, the poll of 1,044 respondents from across the country is considered accurate within three per cent 19 times out of 20.

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