Environment

Whole Foods to pay $1.6 million for mishandling hazardous waste in Yolo County

Yellow sale tags, like this one in Boise’s Whole Foods store, alert Amazon Prime members to products that carry an extra 10 percent discount. Amazon bought Whole Foods last year.
Yellow sale tags, like this one in Boise’s Whole Foods store, alert Amazon Prime members to products that carry an extra 10 percent discount. Amazon bought Whole Foods last year. jsowell@idahostatesman.com

Whole Foods’ California branch will pay $1,643,500 as part of a settlement made on Thursday with the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office that resulted from the high-end supermarket chain’s mishandling of hazardous waste and materials over a five-year period.

The district attorney’s office alleged that Whole Foods Market California Inc., along with its parent companies, mishandled batteries, electronic devices, ignitable liquids, aerosol products, cleaning agents, and other dangerous materials in the state, according to a press release issued by the office.

As part of the investigation into Whole Foods’ misconduct, Yolo County regulators found documentation of employee hazardous-waste training to be incomplete on a statewide basis, according to the release.

The settlement requires that Whole Food and its parent companies properly label, package, and store hazardous waste, ensure that hazardous wastes do not combine, and properly document their hazardous waste and dispose of it properly, and hire an employee to strengthen hazardous waste policies, according to the release.

Of the required fees the companies must pay, $1,202,800 will go to civil penalties, $202,800 will reimburse the costs of the investigation, and $237,900 will fund supplemental environmental projects, including other environmental violation prosecutions, according to the release.

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