The collaborative work of USM environmental science alum Gordon Lane and Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Policy Travis Wagner was featured in the Fall 2013 issue of the Council for Undergraduate Research (CUR) Newsletter Undergraduate Research Highlights. Their research examined the influence of recycling containers' attributes on household recycling, participation, and set-out rates. As local communities invest large sums of money into their recycling programs, it is crucial to know what characteristics or attributes (size, shape, type, color, ease of mobility, convenience) maximizes the amount of recyclables collected. The study found that large, wheeled containers had the most positive impact on recycling rates.
When Lane began the project as an undergraduate work-study student, there was no dedicated funding for the research. He was able to continue as a research assistant for Dr. Wagner thanks to funding from a professional development award. The resulting paper, "Examining recycling container attributes and household recycling practices," was published in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling (Vol 75, June 2013, pg 32-40). The article can be read here.