Rite Aid Corporation has been ordered by a San Jouquin County Superior Court judge to pay more than $12.3 million to settle a civil lawsuit that alleged 600 of its California stores improperly dumped hazardous waste in local landfills.
District attorneys in San Joaquin, Los Angeles and Riverside counties filed a joint environmental protection lawsuit against the drugstore chain in September following an investigation that began in 2009, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The investigation, which began with local environmental health agencies and grew to include state prosecutors and regulators, found Rite Aid trucked hazardous waste for six-and-a-half years to local landfills and illegally disposed of the material. The hazardous waste included pesticides, bleach, paint, aerosols and other toxic items, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Rite Aid, which was cooperative during the case, will use a computerized scanning system to manage the hazardous waste and will keep it in segregated specially labeled containers. State-registered haulers will handle the material.
California’s ban on throwing electronic waste into municipal landfills has been ineffective, according to a study released in September by a University of California, Irvine professor.
The Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003 imposed requirements on retailers and manufacturers for equipment containing cathode ray tubes and liquid crystal displays. Cell phone recycling efforts in California have netted good results. Other dumping bans have not had the same effect.
The study says recycling rates for e-waste are low and certain demographic groups like women and seniors are unaware of their options. Providing more information to these groups could drastically improve recycling efforts, the study says.