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. The Verge reports: California Attorney General Rob Bonta alleges in a statement the company violated state environmental laws with their practices, and the waste included materials like lithium and alkaline batteries, insect killer sprays, aerosol cans, LED lightbulbs, and more. State investigators conducted 58 inspections across 13 counties from 2015 to 2021 and said they found classified hazardous and medical waste in each store's trash compactors, as well as customer information that should have been rendered indecipherable. The California DOJ estimates that Walmart's unlawfully disposed waste totals 159,600 pounds or more than 1 million items each year. State investigators conducted 58 inspections across 13 counties from 2015 to 2021 and said they found classified hazardous and medical waste in each store's trash compactors, as well as customer information that should have been rendered indecipherable. The California DOJ estimates that Walmart's unlawfully disposed waste totals 159,600 pounds or more than 1 million items each year. Hargrove said that the compactor waste audits "conducted or overseen by the California attorney general have shown that the compactor waste contain at most 0.4% of items of potential concern," comparing it to the 3 percent statewide average. In 2010, Walmart reached a $25 million settlement with the state of California for illegally disposing of hazardous waste. They also paid $1.25 million to Missouri in 2012 for a similar incident and pleaded guilty in 2013 for negligently discharging a pollutant into drains in 16 counties in California.

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