Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT) was sued by the state of California for allegedly disposing of more than one million hazardous items a year —or 80 tons— in landfills that are not equipped to handle the materials.
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As reported by CNN, the lawsuit alleges that the giant retailer has illegally dumped more than one million hazardous items every year in landfills including lithium batteries, pesticides, and cleaning supplies.
The complaint further claims that Walmart has been breaking California environmental law in the last six years. According to state regulation, dumping toxic waste in landfills can affect drinking water and breathable air.
“When a big box store disposes of unwanted goods, just like the rest of us, they need to do so properly. Unfortunately, Walmart, the largest company in the world by revenue, has failed to do that on a grand scale here in California,” the California attorney general, Rob Bonta, said.
Dr. Meredith Williams, the California Department of Toxic Substances Control director, added: “Despite repeated enforcements against Walmart over the past two decades, it consistently — and knowingly — fails to comply with California's environmental protection laws.”
Company spokesman Randy Hargrove deemed the lawsuit “unjustified” and said Walmart would fight it: “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 household products and other items that goes beyond what is required by law,” he added.
Hargrove further said that Walmart’s trash compactors “are far cleaner than the state average,” after allegations of them “containing at most 0.4% of items of potential concern.”
Back in 2010, also in California, Walmart settled a similar lawsuit by paying $25 million and committing to not dumping toxic items in inadequate landfills. Five years later, however, inspections revealed the company had continued with the questionable practices.
Walmart is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders' families.