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Avoiding Fines for Improper Dumping of Hazardous Materialshazardous waste image

In May of 2013, one of the nation’s largest retailers was charged with violating the Clean Water Act in California and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act in Missouri.  Walmart plead guilty to six counts of improperly dumping hazardous waste and agreed to pay 82 million dollars in fines.  When the dust finally settled, Walmart had spent over $110 million to resolve the issue. The event prompted major changes in how Walmart deals with its garbage. It was discovered that items being returned to Walmart would occasionally end up in the dumpster. Walmart has since created a compliance office staffed with employees with backgrounds in environmental protection in a move to prevent future fines.

Walmart’s case is not an isolated incident. More than 600 Walgreens stores in California were indicted in 2012 for similar violations. Employees were disposing of expired medications, bleach, paint and other hazardous materials. Although Walgreens attempted to transfer blame to their hauling company a California judge upheld the charges against Walgreens.

According to the federal government and EPA, we are each individually responsible to safely dispose of hazardous waste. Many products we use on a daily basis are on the hazardous waste list; fluorescent light tubes, batteries, electronics, mercury thermometers, latex and oil based paints, pool chemicals and cleaners. When these items end up at the landfill or are poured down the kitchen drain, they pose a significant danger to our water system and health. Humans and pets can be exposed to the toxic chemicals causing a host of health problems. Vermin and insects can also carry diseases from the waste into our communities. In addition to fines, businesses and individuals can be sued for clean up costs when illegal dumping is exposed.

Waste audits are a necessary part of doing business. Knowing what’s in your waste stream is the first step in warding off costly fines down the road.  A responsible waste and recycle program will continuously evaluate and identify hazardous items and opportunities for safely disposing of and tracking in ‘cradle to grave,’ reports.

NWA provides a variety of cost-effective solutions for recycling light bulbs, mercury waste, batteries and e-waste.  We help our clients with multiple locations by managing bulk recycling programs with pallets or truckloads shipped on a regular or project basis.  Our small quantity programs are designed by environmental and safety experts and offer an efficient means for small to medium sized businesses to comply with disposal regulations. At National Waste Associates we take environmental compliance very seriously and work pro-actively to improve processes at each and every location we service for a client.  Once waste leaves your location, it’s still our concern.  National Waste Associates places high value on the quality of our haulers.  We carefully screen and require a repeatable standard of service.  This assures our customers that their financial, regulatory and reputational experience is protected.  For more information on how we professionally manage your recycling and waste program and provide market specific intelligence to assist your individual locations with compliance, please call 1-888-692-5005 or email sales@nationalwaste.com .