California Attorney General Rob Bonta has filed a lawsuit against Walmart, accusing the retailer of illegally disposing of hazardous waste.
The California AG was joined by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) in filing the suit. In particular, Walmart is accused of dumping hazardous waste in landfills that are not equipped to handle it. The items include batteries, pesticides, aerosol cans, toxic cleaners, e-waste, latex paints, and LED lightbulbs. The company is also accused of dumping confidential customer information in landfills.
“Walmart’s own audits found that the company is dumping hazardous waste at local landfills at a rate of more than one million items each year. From there, these products may seep into the state’s drinking water as toxic pollutants or into the air as dangerous gases,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “When one person throws out a battery or half-empty hairspray bottle, we may think that it’s no big deal. But when we’re talking about tens of thousands of batteries, cleaning supplies, and other hazardous waste, the impact to our environment and our communities can be huge. This lawsuit should serve as a warning to the state’s worst offenders. We will hold you accountable. As the People’s Attorney, taking on corporate polluters and protecting public health will always be among my top priorities.”
“Despite repeated enforcements against Walmart over the past two decades, it consistently – and knowingly – fails to comply with California’s environmental protection laws,” said Dr. Meredith Williams, DTSC Director. “DTSC will vigorously pursue justice in this and all mismanagement of hazardous waste – particularly by repeat offenders, and most especially in communities forced to suffer the consequences of industrial pollution, generation after generation.”
This isn’t the first time Walmart has been accused of this behavior. The company reached a $25 million settlement with California in 2010 over similar actions. In spite of the measures taken against the company, inspections beginning in 2015 discovered that Walmart was still violating state laws with its hazardous waste.