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Target Fined $7.4 Million for Illegally Throwing E-Waste in the Trash

Target threw hazardous e-waste, as well as sensitive medical material and waste, into the trash illegally for four years.

The state of California slapped Target with a fine of $7.4 million for breaking state e-waste recycling laws and throwing 2,038 items of hazardous e-waste in the trash between 2012 and 2016, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

Per California’s Electronic Waste Recycling Act of 2003, which created the infrastructure and regulations for recycling e-waste in the state, businesses are required to dispose of hazardous e-waste, which could include laptops and TVs with LCD screens, computers or other devices with fluorescent cathode ray tubes, and miscellaneous electronic equipment like batteries and circuit boards. But according to a press release from the district attorney’s office, those weren’t the only items Target threw in the trash illegally.

“The waste included items such as electronics, batteries, aerosol cans, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and medical waste including syringes, over-the-counter and prescribed pharmaceuticals, as well as confidential medical information from its customers,” the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office press release states.

Target earned almost $72 billion in revenue last year, so a $7.4 million settlement won’t bankrupt the company. But it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time Target has paid a fine for throwing e-waste in the trash. In 2011, Target had to pay a $22.5 million settlement, and agreed to train employees in hazardous waste handling and disposal methods.