SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — California is suing Walmart.
State Attorney General Rob Bonta announced he is filing a lawsuit over the retail giant’s alleged dumping of hazardous waste.
“Walmart’s slogan might be, ‘Save money. Live better,’ but based on the company’s behavior, one might wonder if it has rebranded to, ‘Save money. Pollute the environment,” Bonta said.
The State Department of Justice filed the lawsuit Monday, claiming the big box store has violated state environmental laws by illegally dumping hazardous waste from its 300 California stores. That waste includes lithium batteries, electronics, pesticides, toxic cleaning supplies, aerosol cans and confidential customer information.
Bonta said Walmart has dumped about 159,000 pounds of those materials over the last six years into landfills in California that are not authorized or equipped for that kind of waste.
“Dumped improperly, these products can sink into our community’s drinking water as toxic pollutants or into the air we all breathe into dangerous gases,” Bonta said.
Walmart officials said the company is prepared to defend itself in court.
“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”
This lawsuit comes more than ten years after Walmart and the state settled over a similar issue over the disposal of lip balm, shampoo bottles and batteries.
Walmart officials note as the court was set to relieve the company from its settlement obligations in 2018, the state attorney general’s office launched another investigation. A spokesperson said the lawsuit came with new rules “in hopes that Walmart would enter another settlement requiring another substantial financial payment.”
But local district attorneys say Walmart is a repeat offender.
“We need to work collaboratively to find positive solutions to bring about corrective measures for not only the large conglomerates but the mom and pop businesses as well,” San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said.
In addition to the state, 12 California counties have joined the lawsuit against Walmart