The state of California, through its Attorney general, has filed a lawsuit accusing Walmart of allegedly illegally disposing of hazardous waste in landfills across the state. The 42-page document directly implicates Walmart for dumping 160,000 pounds of hazardous waste each year over the past six years. Among the items that are said to be disposed of by the retailer include insect killer sprays, lithium batteries, aerosol cans and LED bulbs.
The giant retailer stands accused of violating California’s environmental laws in its dumping of hazardous waste in landfills that are not equipped to handle such waste. Attorney General Rob Bonta and 12 other California district attorneys are working together over the allegations.
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“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,” Bonta said in a statement.
In defense, Walmart’s spokesperson said the company will defend itself and said the lawsuit is “unjustified,” according to NPR.
“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,” Walmart Spokesperson Randy Hargrove said. “The state is demanding a level of compliance regarding waste disposal from our stores of common household products and other items that goes beyond what is required by law.”
This is not the first time that the retail finds itself in hot soup over waste disposal misconduct. In 2010, the company reached a $25 million settlement agreement with California’s Office of the Attorney General for the illegal disposal of dangerous waste. According to the Attorney General’s office, investigations have proven that the illegal waste dumping has continued since then.
“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,” Hargrove said.
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