OAKLAND (CBS/AP) — A judge has ordered Target Corp. to stop improperly disposing of damaged or defective items that qualify as hazardous waste, including nearly two tons of tainted product to a Southland food bank.

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Alameda County Superior Court Judge Steven Brick signed the order Friday based on allegations brought by the state of California and several cities and counties.

Their lawsuit contends that Target stores statewide have routinely thrown hazardous items such as bleach, pesticides, paint, aerosols and electronics directly into the trash.

The company could face “millions of dollars” in civil penalties, restitution and investigative costs, said Vincent Sato, Los Angeles special assistant city attorney. The case is headed for trial after negotiations broke down over the summer, Sato said.

Among the claims, the city attorney’s office in Los Angeles said stores there sent more than 5,000 pounds of unsalable hazardous products to a regional food bank.

Minneapolis-based Target said in a written statement that the company has a comprehensive program in place to ensure its 240 stores across California comply with state law.

“We take any legal challenge to our program seriously, and will continue to devote substantial resources in order to remain a responsible corporate steward of the environment,” the company

California law requires special handling of hazardous wastes to avoid environmental contamination.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

  1. Anna says:

    This sort of thing (improper disposal of hazardous waste in order to save a small amount of money) is one of the many reasons that “extended producer responsibility” is so important. More here: http://zeroresource.com/2010/06/11/terms-extended-producer-responsibility-epr/

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