Shiane D. Jacocks
Big Lots Stores, Inc., often known as a cheap alternative to Walmart or Target, is now in a hot spot for environmental damage in San Bernardino.
On April 27, District Attorney Mike Ramos, 34 other California District Attorneys, and two city attorneys, announced the San Bernardino County Superior Court had ordered Big Lots Stores pay $3,507,500 in civil penalties, costs, and supplemental environmental projects.
According to Deputy District Attorney (DA) Dan Lough, Big Lots failed to properly handle hazardous waste at its stores and its Rancho Cucamonga distribution center. Instead of being properly transported to an authorized hazardous waste facility, the waste was deposited illegally in local landfills.
The hazardous waste included ignitable and corrosive liquids, toxic materials, batteries, electronic devices, and other e-waste," continued Deputy DA Lough. "In some instances, the hazardous waste was the result of overstock or expired merchandise. In others, it was the result of spills, damaged containers, and customer returns."
Prosecutors alerted Big Lots of the violations and the company was cooperative throughout the investigation.
"Thanks to the hard work and dedication of our Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit, we were able to once again hold another corporation accountable for their negligent actions and bring them into compliance with California's environmental laws," said DA Ramos.
Under the settlement, Big Lots must pay $2,017,500 in civil penalties and $336,250 to reimburse the costs of the investigation. Big Lots will also fund $350,000 to environmental projects in California, and has adopted new policies, procedures, and training programs designed to properly manage and dispose of hazardous waste.
Big Lots’ officials established new policies to ensure proper waste disposal will be a top priority in the future.