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USM's Travis Wagner interviewed on benefits of landfill mining

Photo courtesy Ensia

University of Southern Maine’s (USM) Travis Wagner, a professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy, has been quoted in an article about mining landfills for potentially valuable materials.

The article from Ensia, a nonprofit magazine that bills itself as "presenting new perspectives and solutions to global environmental challenges," describes how many old dumps contain useful materials that can be extracted for reuse.

Whether those materials are worth extracting, however, depends on how the value of other benefits such as preventing pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“It always seems silly that we put in all this energy to produce these materials and goods, and then we dispose perfectly good materials,” Wagner says. “Meanwhile, we are mining and producing more virgin materials.”

In Maine, the article describes, a four-year reclamation project that began in 2011 unearthed 34,352 metric tons of metals — including steel, silver, copper and aluminum — worth an estimated $7.42 million.

Read the full article at Ensia.