California sues Walmart for dumping hazardous waste in the state’s landfills

Of the 58 inspections conducted since 2015 of Walmart trash compactors, "dozens of materials considered either hazardous waste, medical waste or customer records containing personal information were found."

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California is suing Walmart for allegedly dumping more than 150,000 pounds a year of hazardous waste in the state’s landfill. The corporate giant is being accused of dumping products such as pesticides, toxic cleaning supplies, batteries, aerosol cans, latex paints and LED light bulbs.

Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general said that Walmart violated the state’s environmental laws and regulations.

“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,” Bonta said. “From there, these products may seep into the state’s drinking water as toxic pollutants or into the air as dangerous gases. 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.”

Walmart is accused of “breaking California’s environmental laws for six years,” according to the complaint. Of the 58 inspections conducted since 2015 of Walmart trash compactors, “dozens of materials considered either hazardous waste, medical waste or customer records containing personal information were found,” according to NPR.

“Despite repeated enforcements against Walmart over the past two decades, it consistently—and knowingly—fails to comply with California’s environmental protection laws,” Dr. Meredith Williams, control director of California Department of Toxic Substances, Dr. Meredith Williams said.

Walmart reached a $25 million settlement in 2010 for the same violation of “illegal dumping,” according to the state’s Attorney General’s Office.

Walmart said it will fight the new lawsuit because “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.”

But California district attorneys vow to hold the retail giant accountable.

“The illegal dumping and disposal of hazardous materials adversely impacts every member of our community and causes irreparable harm,” Tori Verber Salazar, San Joaquin County District Attorney, said. “We must hold violators, including retail conglomerates, accountable to ensure the safety and well-being of our communities.”

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Ashley is an editor, social media content manager and writer at NationofChange. Before joining NoC, she was a features reporter at The Daily Breeze – a local newspaper in Southern California – writing a variety of stories on current topics including politics, the economy, human rights, the environment and the arts. Ashley is a transplant from the East Coast calling Los Angeles home.

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