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Monday, March 10, 4:45 PM
University Events Room

Glickman Family Library, 7th floor
Portland USM Campus (map)

 

 

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Our consumption-based economy relies on the linear production cycle (cradle to grave), which has been made possible because of seemingly inexhaustible supplies of inexpensive energy and inexpensive raw materials, and our indifference to pollution and waste. The downside of a linear production cycle is the creation of a “throw-away society” that disposes vast quantities of valuable resources prematurely in landfills and incinerators. While there has been some progress in diverting resources away from disposal through pollution controls and a shift toward the circular production cycle (cradle to cradle), we continue to landfill the majority of the “underused” waste we create. Simultaneously, we mine and harvest virgin raw materials that require processing and energy. The combination is a highly unsustainable practice.

The costs of raw materials and landfill disposal have increased, which has reignited interest in landfill mining to recover the resource value of underused waste lying in landfills. However, technological barriers have until recently made landfill mining prohibitively expensive. Using onsite technological innovations, Maine’s ecomaine has become the first American landfill mining operation to profitably recover post-burn metals. ecomaine’s 20-acre ash monofill received approximately 800,000 tons of ash from its waste-to-energy plant between 1988 and 2009. Between November 2011 and November 2013, 22,000 tons of metals were recovered from over 220,000 tons of ash, and sent offsite for resmelting. Over 10,500 cubic yards of material has been removed from the monofill, thereby increasing available physical space and avoiding future expansion costs. With more than 6,000 former and 1,900 current landfills in the US, the landfill mining potential is substantial and it is possible that the results of this project can be applied to other sites.


Dr. Travis Wagner is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Policy in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Southern Maine. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Wagner worked for 14 years at a variety of consulting firms in Washington, DC, supporting the development of policies, regulations, and national and international compliance strategies for hazardous, high-level radioactive, Subtitle D industrial, and municipal solid waste for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Army. Dr. Wagner has written multiple books, articles, and peer-reviewed journal articles on solid and hazardous waste management.

Since entering academia in 2002, Dr. Wagner’s research has focused on applied environmental policy, specifically the identification, analysis, and assessment of innovative policy approaches to maximize the sustainable management of natural resources. Over the past few years, he has concentrated his research on studying and applying various aspects of Product Stewardship to difficult-to-recycle wastes including fluorescent lamps, electronic waste, and single-use propane canisters. He recently published an article in the journal Waste Management establishing the first ever criteria-based framework that operationalizes the concept of convenience to support the implementation of Extended Producer Responsibility. He received his Ph.D. in environmental and natural resource policy from The George Washington University, his MPP in environmental policy from the University of Maryland, and a B.S. in environmental science from Unity College.

The colloquium is sponsored by the
L.L. Bean/
Lee Surace Endowed Chair in Accounting.
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USM Professor Jeffrey Gramlich was appointed the first L.L. Bean/Lee Surace Chair in Accounting in the USM School of Business in 2003. His appointment was made possible by a $1 million gift from L.L. Bean, Inc., its board chair, Leon Gorman, his wife Lisa, Jim and Maureen Gorman, and Tom Gorman, who established the chair in memory of L.L. Bean CFO Lee Surace '73, '81, who died in March of 2001. Surace was chair of the USM School of Business' Advisory Council and was a frequent guest lecturer.

The USM School of Business is accredited by AACSB International. For students seeking the finest education and companies seeking the highest caliber talent, partnership, and educational opportunities, AACSB International accreditation is one of the most important affirmations of sustained quality in the world. For more information about School of Business programs, call 780-4020.

M President