Target charged with illegal dumping of hazardous products

Target has had a preliminary injunction filed against its retail stores by the city of Los Angeles and California state prosecutors for allegedly dumping hazardous consumer products that were returned or damaged. If found guilty, the retail giant faces civil penalties.

There are approximately 200 Target stores and seven distribution centers in California, including about 50 in the city and county of Los Angeles.

State environmental law strictly governs the safe disposal of such products as bleach, paint, pesticides, aerosols, oven cleaners and automotive products, all of which the retailer carries. Investigators with the California Attorney General’s Office and the Los Angeles city attorney’s office say Target didn’t follow the guidelines.

Investigators say Target sent 5,000 pounds of products that couldn’t be sold – including those with ““damaged, leaking, unusable items with flammable, toxic and corrosive properties” to the he Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Target was ordered “not to dispose of hazardous waste at an unauthorized or unpermitted place nor transport hazardous waste to an unpermitted facility” in a court order issued last Friday by a judge in Alameda County.

Target isn’t the first retailer to be investigated for illegal dumping, nor is it likely to be the last. Makes you wonder if the mega-retailers ascribe to the “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission” mode of operating. Either that or it’s their arrogance associated with being so big that even if caught, the fines will only equal a nasty slap on the wrist.

2 Responses

  1. This sort of thing (improper disposal of hazardous waste in order to save a small amount of money) is one of the many reasons that “extended producer responsibility” is so important. More here: http://zeroresource.com/2010/06/11/terms-extended-producer-responsibility-epr/

  2. We all have a moral responsibility to the environment. It is time the manufacturers of environmentally dangerous products be required to have an exit plan for their products. If the products cannot be safely disposed, then they shouldn’t be allowed to be produce the new product. Fix the problem… before it starts….

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