Big Lots Stores Settle Case of Environmental Violations

OAKLAND -- Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, together with 34 other California District Attorneys and 2 City Attorneys, today announced a settlement with Big Lots Stores, Inc. and its subsidiaries (“Big Lots”).

The civil settlement is the culmination of the prosecutors’ investigation into Big Lots’ unlawful disposal of hazardous waste at its stores across the state and at its distribution center. The parties agreed to a court judgment that orders Big Lots to pay $3,507,500 in civil penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental projects.

Big Lots generates hazardous waste through chemical product spills, damaged containers of chemical products, customer returns, and similar events. The hazardous waste includes corrosive and ignitable liquids, toxic materials, batteries, and electronic devices and other e-waste.

Prosecutors pursued this enforcement action after discovering Big Lots had failed to properly manage and dispose of hazardous waste at its 206 California retail stores and at its distribution center in Rancho Cucamonga. Big Lots employees disposed of hazardous waste in ordinary dumpsters bound for local landfills unpermitted to accept the waste, rather than having the waste lawfully transported to authorized hazardous waste facilities.

“Retailers must ensure the hazardous wastes they generate are not simply disposed of at local landfills not authorized or designed to accept hazardous waste,” stated Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley.

“Failure to provide for proper management and disposal of hazardous waste violates fundamental environmental laws and constitutes unfair business practices. Today’s statewide settlement is another important step in the direction toward environment protection and a level playing field for businesses that comply with environmental protection laws.”

After prosecutors alerted Big Lots to the violations, the company cooperated throughout the continued investigation. Big Lots’ stores are now managing and disposing of hazardous waste through licensed transporters who dispose of the waste at authorized hazardous waste facilities.

*Image source: Big Lots

Posted on Apr 27, 2017