California sues Walmart over hazardous waste disposal

Northwest Arkansas News

On Tuesday, Walmart offered its condolences to the families of the victims. The company issued a voluntarily recall of the room sprays last week, after tests detected a rare and deadly bacteria in one of the bottles found at a patient’s home. (Getty Images)

SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — California is suing Walmart.

The retail giant is in trouble with the state for allegedly illegally disposing of hazardous waste, according to a press release from Attorney General Rob Bonta.

“Walmart is alleged to have violated California’s environmental laws and regulations by disposing of hazardous waste products at local landfills that are not equipped or authorized to receive this type of waste. The waste includes alkaline and lithium batteries, insect killer sprays and other pesticides, aerosol cans, toxic cleaning supplies, electronic waste, latex paints, and LED lightbulbs, as well as confidential customer information,” Bonta’s office said.

Twelve district attorneys have joined in on the lawsuit, including Alameda County’s DA.

Walmart called the lawsuit “unjustified.”

“We take our obligation to protect the environment seriously and have industry leading processes in place to comply with local, state and federal environmental laws,” the company said in a statement.

We have met with the state numerous times and walked them through our industry-leading hazardous waste compliance programs in an effort to avoid litigation. Instead, they filed this unjustified lawsuit. The state is demanding a level of compliance regarding waste disposal from our stores of common house-hold products and other items that goes beyond what is required by law. We intend to defend the company.

Walmart is a responsible corporate citizen in California and everywhere we operate. We take our obligation to protect the environment seriously and have industry leading processes in place to comply with local, state and federal environmental laws.

Since 2010, we met the requirements of a court supervised settlement requiring the proper disposal of common consumer products such as lip balm, empty shampoo bottles, aerosol cans, and loose AA batteries. We worked with the California Attorney General, District Attorneys, and the Court to build and maintain our comprehensive hazardous waste compliance programs. In 2018, the Court agreed “that Walmart had done so close to everything that’s required that nothing more can be required…” Yet, as the Court was prepared to relieve Walmart of its obligations under the settlement, the Attorney General`s office launched a new investigation with new rules in hopes that Walmart would enter another settlement requiring another substantial financial payment.

California regulators have conducted more than 3,800 environmental inspections of our stores since 2010 and have not imposed any fines on Walmart for violations of Californias Hazardous Waste Control Law, demonstrating the effectiveness of our hazardous waste programs. Audits of our compactor waste conducted or overseen by the California Attorney General have shown the waste in our compactors contain at most 0.4% of items of potential concern theyve identified. The statewide average is 3% based on a CalRecycle statewide solid waste study, so Walmart`s compactors are far cleaner than the state average.

Walmart

When asked whether other retailers are facing the same problem, Bonta said in a press conference that he does not want to comment on potential other ongoing investigations.

This story will be updated.

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