Support Us

Trace Material Podcast: Season 2

Dance Against the Incinerator

The push to promote disposable plastics created mountains of new waste that will never biodegrade. The burden of that waste has been placed almost entirely on the shoulders of low-income communities of color.

One of those communities, the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, NJ, has been battling garbage incineration and the toxic fumes poisoning the neighborhood’s children for decades.

On the new episode of Trace Material, activists Nancy Zak, Arnold Cohen, and Bob Cartright share the story of community opposition to the construction of a garbage incinerator in the Ironbound during the 1980s.

Melissa Miles, Executive Director at New Jersey Environmental Justice Alliance, breaks down the difference between environmentalism and environmental justice and tells us about the racism entrenched in waste disposal.

Find out more about Ironbound Community Corporation on their website, and see more archival photos on Picturing Justice.

Subscribe and listen to the episode on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Check out a gallery of images from the episode below:

Click here for a full transcript of the episode.

Trace Material is a project of Parsons Healthy Materials Lab at The New School. It is hosted and produced by Ava Robinson and Burgess Brown. Our project director is Alison Mears, and our research assistant is Olivia Hamilton. Trace Material was made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our theme music is Rainbow Road by Cardioid. Additional music from Blue Dot Sessions.

Subscribe on

or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

↑  Glossary