Authorities have accused Walmart of throwing hazardous wastes into municipal trash bins or pouring them into local sewer systems. In some cases, the retailer transported hazardous wastes to product return centers without the proper safety documentation
The retail giant will pay more than $81 million in fines and community service projects after pleading guilty to federal charges of improperly handling hazardous materials and pesticides at its retail stores around the country. Tack on state charges by California and Missouri, and the total price tag for these environmental violations comes to $110 million.
Walmart not only \”put the public and the environment at risk,\” it also \”gained an unfair economic advantage over other companies,\” said Ignacia Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department\’s environment and natural resources division. \”Today\’s criminal fine should send a message to companies of all sizes that they will be held accountable to follow federal environmental laws,\” said Tammy Dickinson, U.S. attorney for the western district of Missouri.
In a statement issued after its guilty plea, Walmart noted the environmental violations occurred years ago and involved common consumer products. Since then it has implemented environmental programs to ensure that all materials are handled and disposed of properly.
\”Walmart has a comprehensive and industry-leading hazardous waste program,\” said Phyllis Harris, senior vice president and chief compliance officer,\” for Walmart US. \”The program was built around training, policies and procedures on how to safely handle consumer products that become hazardous waste, and we continue to run the same program in every store and club that was deployed years ago.\” \”We are pleased that this resolves all of the issues raised by the government,\” Harris said.
Source: The Business Journals