TJX Companies, Inc. to Pay $2,777,500 Settlement

Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley, along with 34 other California District Attorneys and two City Attorneys, announced today that Monterey County Superior Court Judge Thomas W. Wills has ordered Massachusetts-based retailer The TJX Companies, Inc. to pay $2,777,500 million as part of a settlement of a civil environmental prosecution. The TJX Companies, Inc. operates throughout California as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods brands.

“The unsafe and unlawful handling and disposal of hazardous waste allows pollutants to seep into the ground and the waterways, putting our communities at risk,” states D.A. O’Malley. “Today’s settlement marks a victory for the environment and should also serve as a strong message to other companies and individuals that engage in illegal disposal practices. My Office remains vigilant in its efforts to ensure that those who commit offenses that are harmful to the environment are brought to justice.”

The judgment is the culmination of a civil enforcement action filed on September 10, 2014 in Monterey County and led by the District Attorneys of Alameda and Monterey counties, claiming that more than 286 T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods stores throughout the state unlawfully handled and disposed of various hazardous wastes and materials over a five and a half year period. Those hazardous wastes and materials included electronic waste, cosmetics, batteries, mercury lamps, personal care products, aerosol spray cans and other toxic and ignitable materials.

During 2012 and 2013, inspectors from the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office Environmental Protection Division, investigators from the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control, conducted a series of waste inspections in Alameda and Monterey counties of dumpsters belonging to Marshalls and T.J. Maxx stores. The inspections revealed that The TJX Companies, Inc. was routinely and systematically sending hazardous wastes to local landfills that were not permitted to receive those wastes.

The TJX Companies, Inc. was cooperative throughout the investigation and, as a result of the investigation, has now adopted and implemented policies and procedures designed to eliminate the disposal of hazardous waste products in California. Stores are required to retain their hazardous waste in segregated, labeled containers so as to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and customers and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions. Hazardous waste produced by California TJX Companies, Inc. stores through damage, spills and returns is now being collected by state-registered haulers, taken to proper disposal facilities and properly documented and accounted for.

There are four T.J. Maxx stores, four Marshalls stores and one HomeGoods store in Alameda County. All nine stores were found to be mismanaging hazardous waste.

Under the final judgment, TJX Companies, Inc. must pay $2.4 million in civil penalties and costs. An additional $375,000 will fund supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California. The retailer will be bound under the terms of a permanent injunction prohibiting similar future violations of law.

Contact: Assistant District Attorney Ken Mifsud
Alameda County District Attorney’s Office

Posted on Sep 22, 2014