More than 5,000 people against proposals for an incinerator to deal with Gloucestershire's waste have handed in a petition to the council.
The council said it has to find an alternative to landfill and an incinerator is just one of the options.
Its residual waste project has also been put on hold until early 2011 after Defra withdrew £92m funding last month.
Four companies are currently bidding for a contract to build a household waste facility.
Gloucestershire County Council has paid £7.4m for land for the project at Javelin Park off junction 12 of the M5.
Mary Newton, from Friends of the Earth, said: "What a waste of money if the county goes ahead and commissions an incinerator in the midst of a financial crisis when libraries and youth services are being cut.
"We are calling for a national zero waste project to take place in Gloucestershire to lead the way forward to increase recycling rates so that we don't need these expensive facilities that would be a tax burden for years to come."
The council said it needed to identify ways to deal with household waste as it was fast running out of landfill space within its boundaries and it faced "a huge tax bill" for using such facilities.
After the Defra funding was withdrawn, Councillor Stan Waddington said: "It doesn't mean we have scrapped the project or that it won't go ahead, it just means we need more time to sort out the financial issues we're now facing.
"Whatever happens we have to find an alternative to landfill for dealing with Gloucestershire's household waste so there's no question of us dropping the project and doing nothing."
The levy for using landfill will increase to £56 per tonne in 2011, which will cost Gloucestershire tax-payers in excess of £7m.