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Talking-Trash: Finding Long-term Solutions to Maine’s Hidden Sustainability Problem

Travis Blackmer of the University of Maine School of Economics speaks, via video, about the ways we approach waste. Blackmer’s presentation comes as part of COA’s third-annual discarded materials audit and outreach project.

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Blackmer has done extensive work with the management of discarded materials and recycling. In 2011, he conducted an extensive study to learn what proportion of the contents of an average trash bag could be recycled or composted, presenting his findings to the Maine Resource Recovery Association.

Today, he is working with UMaine’s George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions.

The focus of Blackmer’s research is on finding long-term, practical ways to efficiently collect, sort, and sustainably utilize what we today call garbage, but which should really be considered viable materials fit for a new use. He strives to explain and document what we are throwing out so that recycling programs and waste municipalities can become increasingly sustainable. Additionally, Blackmer will explore the topic of how we as individuals can be more conscious of what resources we discard.

The Human Ecology Forum is a weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets, and political and religious leaders from around the world. Members of the public are invited to attend.

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