Sacramento, California - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra Thursday announced a $27,840,000 settlement with Home Depot U.S.A. (Home Depot) to resolve allegations that its California stores and facilities unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste – including waste batteries, aerosol cans, paints, and electronic devices. These acts constitute violations of California’s Hazardous Waste Control Law, and of California’s Unfair Competition Law, as such conduct gives Home Depot a competitive advantage over other regulated entities that are complying with the law. Home Depot also is alleged to have discarded customer records without rendering personal information unreadable.
This settlement was the result of a partnership between the Attorney General’s Office, local prosecutors, local regulatory agencies, and the California Department of Toxic Substances Control.
“At the California Department of Justice, we take seriously our obligation to protect the health and well-being of our communities. That is why we are holding Home Depot accountable,” said Attorney General Becerra. “For approximately two and a half years, state and local investigators inspected trash dumpsters belonging to Home Depot and found that the company failed to properly manage and dispose of hazardous waste and personal customer information. This is unacceptable and illegal. As the top law enforcement officer in California, I will continue to work with state and local agencies to prosecute those who violate our environmental and customer record laws.”
As part of the settlement, Home Depot will:
- Pay $16,637,000 in civil penalties, $2,513,000 for projects furthering environmental protection, and $1,850,000 for reimbursement of law enforcement and investigation costs;
- Spend $6,840,000 on environmental compliance activities beyond those currently required by law in lieu of payment of $3,420,000 in additional civil penalties; and
- Be bound by a permanent injunction prohibiting similar violations of law.
Between 2013 and 2015, the California Department of Justice and co-counsel consisting of eight District Attorneys and one City Attorney led 45 inspections of trash dumpsters belonging to Home Depot stores. Each inspection found instances of illegal disposal of hazardous waste and many inspections found improper disposal of personal customer information.