Target to Pay $7.4 Million for Improperly Disposing Hazardous Waste in Calif. Landfills – Again

by on February 1, 2019 · 6 comments

in California, Environment, Ocean Beach

Work continues on the mini-Target coming to Newport Ave. Photo by Bob Edwards

Good ol’ Target. As the giant mega-company was readying the former antique mall for its new Ocean Beach store, over on the environmental side, it was “disposing of batteries, light bulbs, medical waste and other environmentally hazardous materials improperly in landfills across the state” of California.

And it got busted – and now it has agreed to pay a $7.4 million settlement to California. It appears the Minnesota-based company violated a $22.5 million stipulated judgment from 2011 over similar allegations of improper disposal of hazardous retail waste.

The settlement comes out from claims the Minnesota-based company violated a $22.5 million judgment it stipulated to when it got busted earlier in 2011 over similar allegations of improper disposal of hazardous retail waste.

And San Diego was involved in the legal settlement as both the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and the San Diego City Attorney’s Office were parties , along with 21 other district attorneys, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the Los Angeles city attorney. San Diego DA Summer Stephan said in a statement:

“This settlement holds Target accountable for this second violation of environmental laws that involve the improper disposal of a long list of hazardous materials. This case serves as a reminder to corporations of the importance of environmental protection laws that safeguard the public’s health.”

Included in the settlement are enhanced environmental compliance measures with which Target must comply.

In the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s report, it stated:

Target previously settled allegations of improper waste disposal in 2011, and as part of that stipulated judgment, the company agreed to annual compliance audits. Throughout 2012 and 2014, state officials and regulators inspected the company’s trash compactors, where they discovered electronics, batteries, aerosol cans, compact fluorescent light bulbs and medical waste.

The medical wasted included syringes, over-the-counter and prescribed pharmaceuticals, and confidential medical information from its customers.

The prosecutors alleged that during 2012 and 2014, Target unlawfully disposed of a total of 2,038 items of hazardous waste, 175 items of confidential medical information of customers and 94 items of medical waste.

Here’s a break-down of some of the payments Target must make according to terms of the settlement, approved in Alameda County Superior Court:

  • Target will pay $3.2 million in civil penalties and spend at least $3 million to conduct three annual inspections and audits to ensure its facilities are in compliance with rules regulating the dumping of hazardous materials.
  •  $900,000 in attorney’s fees and costs associated with investigation and enforcement activities.
  • $300,000 in civil penalties and $43,330 in enforcement costs to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office.

Of course, $7.4 million is only a drop in the ol bucket for Target. Target is the 11th largest retailer in the world and based just on its revenue and profits from the last three years, Target is worth $62.6 billion.



{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

retired botanist February 1, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Yeah. “Foul now. Pay later. So what?” Audits? Inspections? Like that’s going to clean up the pollution this company spews every single day?! This is chump change to Target, and the fact that its their second violation should tell consumers just how much they “care”.
And how much of that money do you think actually goes to clean up? None, it goes to lawyers, it goes to middle managers who push paperwork, it goes to greenwash marketing…it basically goes everywhere and into everyone’s pockets except remediation of the environment. Its disgusting. You’d think they could at least quit generating those hideous plastic bags! Absolute LOSER company, from any perspective!


Sam February 1, 2019 at 9:17 pm

Do you have a proposal for what they should do rather than pay the fine? Perhaps you should funnel your energy into finding a solution rather than just griping about it. Just a thought…


Frank Gormlie February 4, 2019 at 11:08 am

The role of grassroots citizen journalism is to bring attention to the actions of corporate behemoths who wish to join the village of OB. This is not “griping” – it’s called something else.


retired botanist February 4, 2019 at 1:46 pm

Sam- Yep, “just a thought” is a fundamental problem in our culture- we seem unable to move beyond that little light bulb. “Just an act” would be so much better!
Now what could Target do? In a nutshell, change the business model. Quit glutting the market with items like disposable clothing, products encased in plastics, widgets people don’t need, wasteful expensive advertising. Implement an actual recycling program instead of dumpster filling. Endorse and support, with that $ above, real environmental clean-up programs. Adopt a landfill instead of a highway. Offer e-waste recycling programs. Implement LID design. Pay their CEOs less $, reduce the profit margin and re-channel some of that profit into worthy causes rather than the pockets of 1%ers. Pay their employees a decent wage and provide them with real benefits. Any of these actions are environmentally superior to fines and audits.

What can we do? Small acts of individual conscientiousness would be a good start! For example, how truly diminished, or enhanced, would one’s day be if one couldn’t shop at a Target, Walmart or Costco? Saving a $1.50 by driving to a big box store, getting that $3 of extra materialism b/c there’s a ‘volume discount”? How onerous would it be to bring a re-usable cloth bag to a store instead of walking away with 5 R&W, non-biodegradable bags. Other stores are doing it- what’s Target’s problem? How deficient would one’s daily meal be if it didn’t include food grown 1/2 way around the world harvested by someone making $5/day? That’s the sort of thing we could do, or avoid…

There are lots of solutions. Better for them, better for us, better for the environment. Actions speak louder than words or “thoughts”, and fines and audits, for these mega-corporations are just disposable, “thought”-less actions.


Vern February 1, 2019 at 2:06 pm

Now that’s a really good neighbor, eh? Way to go Target.
Kinda like RiteAid dumping all the pharma-waste not too long ago.


kh February 1, 2019 at 6:41 pm

That’d be the equivalent of one of us getting fined 35 bucks.

Shameful behavior.


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