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Dettaglio pubblicazione

2023, ENERGY, Pages 126123- (volume: 263)

Wasting energy or energizing waste? The public acceptance of waste-to-energy technology (01a Articolo in rivista)

Caferra R., D'Adamo I., Morone P.

Waste-to-energy (WtE) plants are pivotal for the circular economy and sustainable urban development. However, public acceptance is critical to their success, given widespread skepticism (often due to limited knowledge about the potential environmental and health risks). This work examines the public mindset, identifying factors that may explain the transition from opposition to strong support. It also explores how traditional technical analysis may be successfully integrated with social perspectives to improve policy effectiveness. To this end, an online survey was administered to a sample of 240 Italian consumers. Three groups are identified from survey data: (i) opponents, (ii) weak supporters, and (iii) strong supporters. Results show that perceived risk factors are central in explaining the difference between groups, with lower perceived health and environmental concerns associated with general support for the technology, and trust in local government management associated with strong (as compared to weak) support. Health, environmental, and safety/control concerns negatively affected willingness to pay. The main implications suggest that different perceptions exist for WtE given that they are a sustainable technology compared to landfill use but without compromising separate collection and more virtuous waste management practices. This social sustainable approach can be supported by policies that promote energizing waste.
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