California is suing Walmart over alleged improper disposal of e-waste and other hazardous materials

Last week, the California attorney general and 12 state officials filed a lawsuit against Walmart, saying it allegedly illegally disposed of electronic and hazardous waste, compromising local landfills.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta alleges in a statement that the company violated state environmental laws with its practices and that the waste included materials such as lithium and alkaline batteries, bug-killing sprays, aerosol cans, LED bulbs and more. .

State investigators conducted 58 inspections in 13 counties from 2015 to 2021 and said they found classified medical and hazardous waste in each store’s trash compactors, as well as customer information that should have become indecipherable. The California Department of Justice estimates that Walmart’s illegally disposed of waste totals 159,600 pounds or more than 1 million items each year.

“We have met with the state numerous times to guide them through our industry-leading hazardous waste compliance programs in an effort to avoid litigation, but instead they filed this unjustified lawsuit,” said Walmart spokesman Randy. Hargrove, in a statement. “The state requires a level of compliance with respect to disposing of waste from our stores of common household products and other items that goes beyond what is required by law. We intend to defend this company ”.

Hargrove said that compactor waste audits “conducted or supervised by the California attorney general have shown that compactor waste contains a maximum of 0.4% items of potential concern,” compared to the state average of 3 percent. .

This is not the first time that Walmart has tangled with the state over its alleged wasteful practices. In 2010, Walmart settled a $ 25 million settlement with the California attorney general’s office for illegally disposing of hazardous waste.

Hargrove says the court was “prepared to release Walmart from its obligations” from its 2010 settlement, but “the attorney general’s office launched a new investigation with new rules in the hopes that Walmart would enter into another settlement requiring another payment. substantial financial “.

The company also paid $ 125 million to Missouri in 2012 for a similar incident and pleaded guilty in 2013 for negligently discharging a pollutant into sewers in 16 California counties, the Associated Press reported.

“Despite repeated executions against Walmart over the past two decades, it consistently and knowingly fails to comply with California’s environmental protection laws,” said Director Meredith Williams of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control in the statement from press.

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