Trash in (post-)Communist Eastern Europe

This week’s podcast is the fourth of five events for Nature’s Revenge: Ecology, Animals, and Waste in Eurasia, the Spring 2021 Speakers’ Series at the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Industrial commodity production has exponentially increased the number of things to be bought, sold, and consumed. But waste is left in the wake of every created and consumed thing. The problem of trash—what to do with it, where to put it, and how to process and even reuse it is one of the fundamental problems of modern society. Here’s Elana Resnick and Viktor Pal on trash and the multiple challenges in dealing with it in Eastern Europe.


Elana Resnick is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently working on a book manuscript about waste and race in Europe based on over three years of fieldwork on Bulgarian city streets, in landfills, Romani neighborhoods, executive offices, and at the Ministry of the Environment. You can get a taste of her research in a forthcoming piece in the American Anthropologist entitled “The Limits of Resilience: Managing Waste in the Racialized Anthropocene.”

Viktor Pál is a Researcher at the Department of Cultures at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He also serves as Coordinator at the Helsinki Environmental Humanities Hub. His first book Technology and the Environment in State-Socialist Hungary: An Economic History was published in 2017 by Palgrave MacMillan.


Peter Seeger, “Garbage.”