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The Truth Stinks

It was a dark and dreary day, the temperature outside was mild enough for a light jacket but it wasn’t exactly warm outside. We drove into the part of the Ironbound community in Newark, NJ known as chemical corridor. Immediately, Nouran’s sedan got lost in a sea of massive metal beasts, we were surrounded by trucks. It almost felt unnatural to be driving around in a place industrialized beyond recognition. The smell of big business smacked us both in the face and the further we drove into chemical corridor, the worse the odor got, and the more the smell changed as well. The smell seemed to evolve from industrial fumes to literal death and sewage. Unbelievable to think that people walk through this area every single day and even more unbelievable to think that people live around here, I thought to myself. As the odors assaulted our nostrils, we finally reached a crescendo of the smell as we pulled up on Doremus and Wilson Avenue. We had arrived at the DarPRO fat rendering plant. The large green structure was surrounded by birds swooping in and out like vultures circling a carcass. “Do we actually have to go in here?” Nouran asked, the apprehension apparent in her voice. “We’re gonna have to try.” I responded.

A History of DarPro in the Ironbound

  • The Newark DarPRO fat rendering facility was built in 1977.
  • It was originally located in Long Island City, NY, and eventually moved due to the excessive cost of operating in the 5 Boroughs.
  • Darling Ingredients Int. describes itself as a company that recycles ingredients for sustainable energy. Some of those ingredients include animal carcasses which are used for fat rendering. However, not all of their factories are used for this purpose.
  • There are 115 employees currently working at the Newark facility.
  • Their factories make a wide array of different products, including, gelatin, gel capsules, animal feed, compost, cleansers, and many other products that we all use in our homes.

How to Report the Stench

Darling Ingredients Int. prides itself on being an environmentally friendly, solutions oriented company, but for residents of the Ironbound, Darling provides the opposite of solutions. The smell emitted from the fat rendering process is unbearable and in the warmer months it is inescapable to those who live around it. Residents and community activists regularly call the DEP to complain about the smells and nothing is really ever done to meet their demands. In fact, once a complaint is phoned in, it is incredibly difficult to convince an inspector to even come investigate the source of the foul odor. The phone number to call to complain about an odor is 1-877 WARN DEP ( 1-877-927-6337) Typically, once you call in the foul odor, you receive a ticket number and then you wait for a call back, which for the residents of the Ironbound, sometimes, never comes.

Obtained from

Who Lives in and around the Ironbound?

Of the 195,776 people living in the Ironbound, 176,284 of those people are minorities (74%.) 69,759 of those people are living below poverty level.

Demographic Profile of Surrounding Area (3 Miles) – Obtained from

We are aware that operations can have a direct impact on the communities surrounding our facilities. Our company is intrinsically tied to providing solutions for society’s need; we also place great importance on being a good neighbor to the local population. We install industrial applications in our plants to help protect the local environment and have established green zones around some of our facilities. We also provide employment to support the local economy and support local charitable organizations and activities.

Martin Guthrie, Environmental Affairs Manager of Darling Ingredients Inc.

In an effort to better understand exactly what measures Darling Ingredients Int. has been taking to better the living conditions of those surrounding its DarPRO facility we attempted to contact their corporate offices to see if someone would be able to provide us with some insight

After several failed attempted phone calls and emails, we finally got through to Joe Fiouris – the senior account manager at the Newark DarPRO facility. Joe provided us with the information to his work contact, Billy Frisch, who he felt could help us more on our search for answers, this lead us into another dead end. We spent days attempting to contact different people involved with Darling, whether it be their corporate offices, or DarPRO right in Newark. It seems our concerns were simply not important enough to garner their attention. We chronicled our journey through video, you can watch it below:

Throughout this entire journey what was the most surprising about all of our findings (or lack thereof) was probably how difficult it was to get in contact with representatives from a company that allegedly prides itself on its community outreach and environmental protection efforts. If it is this difficult to reach someone from Darling Ingredients Int. at an official university related capacity, one can only imagine how difficult it must be for concerned citizens of the Newark community to voice their concerns to this company.

Our world is growing. Global population is increasing by tens of thousands every day, and the pressure on our planet’s resources for food, feed and fuel is greater than ever. Our future – and that of our children – depends on our ability to find economically and ecologically viable ways to provide for a growing population’s basic needs.

From the Darling Ingredients Inc. website


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  2. Company Spotlight. Follow. “Darling International Investor Analyst Day.” LinkedIn SlideShare, 9 Oct. 2012,
  3. NJDEP-Compliance and Enforcement – Air Compliance and Enforcement,
  4. Our Story,