After being accused of illegally dumping hazardous waste in California, Bed Bath & Beyond must pay $1.49M in damages.
Bed Bath & Beyond recently agreed to pay $1.49 million to settle a lawsuit over claims the popular retailer “illegally disposed of hazardous waste at local landfills.” Specifically, the company was accused of dumping “batteries, electronic devices, ignitable liquids, and other flammable, toxic, and corrosive materials at local landfills in violation of environmental laws,” according to the lawsuit. The settlement was announced by Nancy E. O’Malley, the Alameda County District Attorney, and 30 other district attorneys throughout California.
The investigation into the matter began back in December 2015 in Ventura County after a fire erupted at a trash and recycling facility in Oxnard. After an investigation into the fire, it was determined it was sparked because of a “load of waste from the trash compactor of the Oxnard Bed Bath & Beyond store.” It turns out, the trash contained “electronic items and hazardous waste, including lithium batteries and a can of lighter fluid.” Then, in April 2016, yet another fire erupted in the same store’s trash compactor. After another investigation, it was again discovered the store discarded “regulated waste such as batteries, broken fluorescent bulbs, and electronic items.”
The two fires kickstarted a more thorough investigation, including undercover inspections of Bed Bath & Beyond stores throughout the state. Those inspections revealed the retailer had been “illegally sending regulated hazardous wastes from stores to local landfills throughout California, including three stores in Alameda County.” When commenting on the matter, O’Malley said:
“The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office remains committed to protecting the natural resources of the county and the state. When businesses, large or small, illegally dispose of hazardous waste, not only do they violate the law, but they put the environment at risk…We will not stand idly by while corporations disregard the safety and well-being of the environment.”
The lawsuit was filed earlier this fall and alleged more than “200 Bed Bath & Beyond stores throughout the state – including Cost Plus World Market, buybuy BABY, Harmon, and Harmon Face Values – unlawfully handled, transported and disposed of regulated waste at local landfills not permitted to receive those wastes.” When the retailer was notified of the investigation and undercover inspections, it “cooperated with investigators and agreed to dedicate additional resources towards environmental compliance, including by performing regular self-audits of its compactors and waste bins,” according to O’Malley.
As part of the settlement, the retailer must fork over $1,327,500 in civil penalties and another $171,250 to “fund projects furthering environmental enforcement in California.”