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Independent Voice

Walgreens to Pay $3.5M in Hazardous Waste Settlement

Dec 29, 2020 12:00AM ● By Office of Solano County District Attorney

The current settlement follows an investigation by prosecutors of Walgreens’ conduct between 2013 and 2020

FAIRFIELD, CA (MPG) - Solano County District Attorney Krishna A. Abrams announced today that a $3.5 million stipulated judgment against Walgreen Co. (“Walgreens”) was entered on December 17, 2020, which settles allegations that Walgreens unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste in violation of state laws and violated injunctive terms from a prior 2012 stipulated judgment. The case was prosecuted by a multi-jurisdictional task-force which included the Solano County District Attorney’s Office Consumer/Environmental Crimes Unit. The case was filed in Alameda County Superior Court and judgment entered in case number RG20081172. 

The current settlement follows an investigation by prosecutors of Walgreens’ conduct between 2013 and 2020, during which time prosecutors allege that the company improperly disposed of hazardous waste into company trash bins destined for municipal landfills that are not authorized to accept hazardous waste. The hazardous waste included items such as over-the-counter and prescription medication, electronic devices, batteries, aerosol products, cleaning agents, as well as other hazardous items generated through the company’s regular business activities. This settlement also resolves allegations that Walgreens failed to shred or otherwise destroy customer records containing confidential information before disposal.  

The current stipulated judgment requires Walgreens to pay an additional $3.5 million, which consists of $2.8 million in civil penalties, $300,000 in supplemental environmental projects, and $400,000 in reimbursement of investigative and enforcement costs. The monetary settlement includes just over $300,000 in penalties and costs to Solano County. In addition, the settlement includes provisions requiring Walgreens to continue to employ four California-based compliance employees to oversee its hazardous waste compliance program and ensure hazardous wastes and confidential consumer information is properly disposed of at all stores. 

Walgreens owns approximately 600 pharmacy and retail facilities in California, five of which are located in Solano County. Walgreens, like all retail stores, is required to properly manage hazardous waste that is generated in the normal course of its retail and pharmaceutical business and to maintain such hazardous waste in labeled and segregated containers to ensure that incompatible wastes do not combine to cause dangerous chemical reactions.

Walgreens cooperated with the investigation. The instant case resolves violations statewide in California, and was prosecuted primarily by the District Attorneys of Monterey, Alameda, Riverside, San Joaquin, Solano, and Yolo Counties, and the City Attorney of Los Angeles.

“Environmental protection remains a priority of the Solano County District Attorney’s Office,” said District Attorney Abrams. “This statewide settlement with Walgreens ensures future compliance with California environmental regulations and continued protection of the health and welfare of the residents of Solano County and all of California.”