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Target, KMart, and Illegal Hazardous Waste Dumping in California

By David Goguen | Last updated on

Retail Giants' Waste Disposal Practices are No Bargain for the Environment

Target stores throughout California have been unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste materials for at least eight years, according to a lawsuit filed against the retail giant this week by the California Attorney General and a number of local prosecutors.

Another big-box retailer, KMart Corporation, reached a settlement in May over similar waste dumping allegations, agreeing to revise its disposal practices and pay more than $8 million in penalties, the state's AG announced.

The complaint against Target details dozens of alleged environmental law violations by the company -- everything from improper disposal of hazardous materials (aerosol wastes, propane, spray cleaners, mercury-containing light bulbs) to failure to comply with legal requirements related to waste storage facility inspections and record-keeping. Read the Complaint Against Target Corporation.

In all, improper hazardous waste disposal practices at Target's roughly 200 California stores have prompted over 300 violation notices from local environmental and health agencies over the past eight years, the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting.

KMart, which operates in about 100 locations in California, had been accused of unlawfully dumping hazardous waste and failing to account for most of the waste it generated at stores from 2002 to 2007, according to the California Attorney General's Office.

In a settlement reached late last month, KMart agreed to stop sending hazardous waste to landfills, improve employee training on proper waste disposal, and pay $8.65 million in civil penalties to resolve those charges. Read the Complaint Against KMart Corporation and the Stipulation for Final Judgment.

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