TJ Maxx parent company illegally disposed of hazardous waste

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The parent company of T.J. Maxx must pay more than $2 million for unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste in several California counties, including San Luis Obispo..

AP

The parent company of T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods must pay more than $2 million for unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste in multiple counties — including San Luis Obispo, a judge ordered Friday.

Thirty-eight counties and the cities of Los Angeles and San Diego filed a lawsuit in October, alleging TJX Companies Inc. disposed of hazardous waste in its regular trash bins destined for municipal landfills — which are not authorized to accept hazardous waste, court documents show.

The waste included batteries, aerosol products, electronic devices, cleaning agents, ignitable liquids, and other flammable, reactive, toxic and corrosive materials.

Hazardous waste was also a result of damage to product containers, spills and releases of hazardous materials that are used or sold in the retail stores and from customer returns of hazardous products, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit alleges the company “failed to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct the violations” of hazardous waste disposal, “despite having the power, authority, and notice sufficient to do so.”

The Delaware-based company has four locations in San Luis Obispo County and hundreds more across the state.

The judgment, which was agreed to by both parties, requires that the company pay $2.35 million — $1.8 million for civil penalties, $300,000 for supplemental environmental projects, and $250,000 to reimburse investigative and enforcement costs.

The company can gain up to $300,000 in credit toward its civil penalties if it shows enhanced environmental compliance, the judgment says.

The company will also have to employ at least one worker to oversee its hazardous waste compliance program and undergo waste audits in a portion of its California facilities to ensure hazardous waste is properly disposed of at all stores.

The company must also comply with legal requirements regarding hazardous waste management and have a third-party audit its waste disposal annually for the next three years at at least 15 California stores, court documents say. The stores will be selected at random each year.

If audits find violations, the judge identified steps in how those violations should be corrected as quickly as possible.

Companies are required to properly dispose of hazardous waste it generates and segregate it into separate containers to ensure that incompatible waste materials do not mix and cause dangerous chemical reactions, the release said.

TJX worked cooperatively with California prosecutors to reach the settlement, a news release from the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office said.

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Chloe Jones is a courts and crime reporter at the San Luis Obispo Tribune. She is originally from Phoenix, where she earned her B.A. in journalism and M.A. in investigative journalism at Arizona State University. When she’s not reporting, she loves exploring the outdoors and spoiling her two rescue dogs, Camilla and Bugsy Malone.



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