Wagner

Travis P. Wagner

Professor of Environmental Science & Policy, University of Southern Maine
Areas of Expertise:
  • Climate Change
  • Environment

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About Travis

Wagner's primary research area is sustainable materials management involving the identification and assessment of innovative policy approaches to sustainable materials management seeking to foster source reduction and recycling of wastes, including food wastes, through programmatic and behavior modifications.  In addition, he examines the application of Extended Producer Responsibility to manage difficult-to-recycle materials and single-use consumer materials. He is currently a member of the Portland (Maine) Parks Commission, Recycling Committee for ecomaine. he has been a member of multiple ad hoc and termed committees supporting sustainability and solid waste management at the municipal level.

Briefs

Reducing the Burden of Solid Waste in Towns and Cities

  • Travis P. Wagner

Podcast

Publications

"Local Government Opportunities in Sustainable Materials Management: Restricting Single-Use Shopping Bags and Single-Use Expanded Polystyrene Foodware" Waste Management (forthcoming).

Examines the growth and variety of local government ordinances seeking to reduce the consumption of single use shopping bags and polystyrene food service items.

"Shared Responsibility for Managing Electronic Waste: A Case Study of Maine" Waste Management 29 (2009): 3014-3021.

Examines the program and provides data and lessons learned. Maine was the first state to adopt producer responsibility to manage household electronic waste. 

"Compact Fluorescent Lights and the Impact of Convenience and Knowledge on Household Recycling Rates" Waste Management 31 (2011): 1300-1306.

 Investigates the reasons for improper disposal and proposed solutions. There has been a dramatic shift from incandescent to fluorescent lights, which has resulted in a significant reduction in energy consumption for lighting. However, fluorescent lights contain mercury and their improper disposal has significant environmental consequences. 

"Examining the Concept of Convenient Collection: An Application to Extended Producer Responsibility and Product Stewardship Frameworks" Waste Management 33 (2013): 499-507.

Attempts to operationalize the concept for improved policy formulation and implementation , as many new state laws have adopted Extended Producer Responsibility to reduce municipal costs and foster improved recovery of materials. Many of these laws mandate that consumer collection program be convenient, but none have defined this subjective concept.

"Examining Recycling Container Attributes and Household Recycling Practices" Resources, Conservation and Recycling 75 (2013): 32-40.

Examines the role of the container type (size, color, design, etc.) on recycling participation and collected volumes. It also reported on our national survey of current practices of containers at the municipal level.

"Landfill Mining: Case Study of a Successful Metals Recovery Project" Waste Management 45 (2015): 448-457.

Documents the first ever, successful mining operation of a landfill. The study demonstrated that there can be economic viability in landfill mining, but highlights the contradictory current practice of disposing of large amounts of high-value usable materials.

"The Generation and Cost of Litter Resulting from the Curbside Collection of Recycling" Waste Management 50 (2016): 3-9.

Presents the first ever study quantifying the cost of litter from a reliance on small, open-top recycling bins. A thesis of the study was that relying on small bins for recycling not only reduces the ability and interest to recycle, overflowing bins cause economic impacts thereby undermining a municipal recycling program.

In the News

"Environmental Protection is Really Public Health Protection," Travis P. Wagner, Bangor Daily News, December 5, 2017.
"Meet: Travis Wagner, Trash-Talking Maine Professor of Environmental Science and Policy," Travis P. Wagner, Interview with Mary Pols, The Portland Press Herald, August 23, 2015.
Travis P. Wagner quoted in Tux Turkel, "Now, Even Recycling Will Cost More for Many Mainers" The Portland Press Herald, March 13, 2016.
Guest to discuss A Trail to Sustainability: USM Class Field Tests Smartphone Map with Lessons about Munjoy Hill on The Portland Phoenix, Travis P. Wagner, May 2, 2016.
Travis P. Wagner's research on David CarkhuffTravis P. Wagner, "Talking Trash: Portland May Add Carts, but Don't Look for Fees to Drop," The Portland Phoenix, June 16, 2016.
Travis P. Wagner quoted in David Harry, "Council Panel Endorses Solar Project, Recycling Carts" The Portland Forecaster, July 27, 2016.
Guest to discuss The Future of Recycling in Maine on Maine Public Radio's Maine Calling, Travis P. Wagner, October 13, 2016.
Travis P. Wagner quoted in Nicole Wetsman, "Are the 62,000 Untested Chemicals in Household Products Finally Getting Reviewed for Safety?" LOLA Women's Health Blog, October 18, 2016.