Whole Foods to Pay $1.6 Million in Hazardous Waste Settlement

Whole Foods to Pay $1.6 Million in Hazardous Waste Settlement title=
Whole Foods to Pay $1.6 Million in Hazardous Waste Settlement
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Source: Santa Barbara County District Attorney

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that Yolo County Superior Court Judge Thomas E. Warriner has ordered Whole Foods Market California Inc. and two related entities to pay $1,643,500 as part of a settlement of a civil-environmental prosecution. Over $200,000 of this amount will help support various environmental projects, including the prosecution of environmental violations in counties that lack the expertise and resources to prosecute these types of violations. This resolution was a direct result of the work of local regulatory agencies, 21 California District and City Attorneys, including the Santa Barbara County District Attorney, and Whole Foods.

According to the District Attorneys’ complaint, Whole Foods Market California Inc., Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Food Markets Inc., and WFM-WO Inc., mishandled hazardous wastes and materials throughout the state over a five-year period. These hazardous wastes and materials included batteries, electronic devices, ignitable liquids, aerosol products, cleaning agents, and other flammable, reactive, toxic, and corrosive materials. The settlement resolves the allegations made in the District Attorneys’ complaint. 

“All businesses that operate in Santa Barbara County must comply with state environmental laws, and we are pleased that today’s settlement resolves this matter with Whole Foods. Due to the cooperation of the Whole Foods companies throughout the investigation and prosecution, we were able to work toward a fair resolution,” said District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley.  

At the start of the investigation, Yolo County regulators found the companies’ documentation of employee hazardous waste training to be incomplete. A statewide check confirmed these deficiencies were systemic. 

The judgment announced today was designed to prevent Whole Foods stores from committing similar hazardous-waste violations in the future. The judgment requires Whole Foods Market California Inc., Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Food Markets Inc., and WFM-WO Inc. to properly label, package, and store hazardous waste to minimize the risk of exposure to employees and customers, and to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions. The judgment also requires the companies to properly document their hazardous waste and dispose of their hazardous waste at authorized disposal facilities.  

Under the settlement, the Whole Foods entities must pay $1,202,800 in civil penalties, $202,800 to reimburse the costs of the investigation, and $237,900 to fund supplemental environmental projects furthering consumer protection and environmental enforcement in California.  Of these moneys, the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office will receive $3,750 in civil penalties and $900 in cost recovery, and Santa Barbara County Environmental Health Services will receive $1,500 in civil penalties. The Whole Foods entities must also hire an employee to strengthen the companies’ hazardous waste programs.

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RHS Sep 25, 2018 09:00 AM
Whole Foods to Pay $1.6 Million in Hazardous Waste Settlement

I continue to refuse to shop at this place. They are greedy and avaricious and play to the crowd with their phony green image while they cheat customers, screw over employee rights, and cut corners such as this episode demonstrates. People have a bunch of better options that to patronize such shops.

a-1539915663 Sep 25, 2018 08:38 AM
Whole Foods to Pay $1.6 Million in Hazardous Waste Settlement

How much verbiage does one have to dig through to get to the point? What is mishandling? Do they mean they were throwing that stuff in the trash? Sending it to the dump? Don't worry about speaking the local vernacular when all you're doing is pumping political press releases to glorify yourself.

jdoggydogg Sep 24, 2018 10:40 PM
Whole Foods to Pay $1.6 Million in Hazardous Waste Settlement

Joyce continually going after the big corps for pennies to author the wordy press releases! Hows that fight on the Underground Economy she championed going? Clearly looking for exposure and political advancement, right JD, are ya gonna be the next Kamala Harris?

a-1539915663 Sep 24, 2018 04:12 PM
Whole Foods to Pay $1.6 Million in Hazardous Waste Settlement

I am sick of this greener-than-green "socially conscious" corporation screwing us over. I stopped shopping there about 3 years ago after they admitted to knowingly overcharging customers with their uncalibrated scales...they did the same thing a year or so after that. Now, they are basically getting a pass for dumping toxic waste into our environment. Shame on them once again....but there will be no outrage because they have their customers "snowed."

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