Lowe's has agreed to pay $18.1 million to settle a hazardous waste case after an investigation reported that over 100 of its stores in California collected a variety of would-be recyclables from customers, then dumped them in landfills.
The Sacramento Bee reports
that the joint investigation was led by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control’s Office of Criminal Investigations, more than 30 California district attorneys, and the city attorneys of Los Angeles and San Diego. The civil case was filed in Alameda County.
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Scientist and investigators gathered evidence from 2011 to 2013 through dumpster examinations and other projects.
They found that for nearly seven years, more than 118 Lowe's Home Improvement stores dumped pesticides, aerosols, paint and colorants, solvents, adhesives, batteries, mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs, electronic waste and other toxic, ignitable and corrosive materials into landfills not equipped or permitted to handle such materials. San Diego County District Attorney’s office said the company did it "routinely and systematically."
The settlement requires Lowe's to pay approximately $13 million in civil penalties, an additional $2.1 million to projects geared toward consumer protection and environmental enforcement in the state, and $3 million to fund hazardous waste minimization projects.
Lowe's has received a number of awards from the Environmental Protection Agency over the last few years, including the SmartWay, WaterSense, and Energy Star honors, according to a press release on its website
from late last year.
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