The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a settlement with Whole Foods Inc. after a year-long investigation into the company’s hazardous-waste disposal at facilities in five states. According to EPA, the investigation uncovered that Whole Foods did not properly make hazardous waste determinations—as required by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act—and mishandled spent lamps. Under the settlement terms, Whole Foods will correct the violations, pay $3.5 million and “promote hazardous waste compliance in the retail industry as part of a supplemental environmental project.” That project will aim to educate Texas retailers—”particularly smaller businesses”—about hazardous waste laws and the importance of maintaining compliance.
“All companies must follow the law and be responsible stewards of their hazardous waste, from generating it to safely disposing of it,” an EPA administrator was quoted as saying in a September 20, 2016, press release. “Whole Foods is correcting these violations and will ensure their stores and facilities continue to comply with environmental regulations. They will also look into launching an innovative hazardous waste tracking system that we hope becomes the industry standard.”