For years, humans have been inconsiderate when it comes to waste. Sadly, littering and lack of recycling is causing so many problems for humans and the environment around them. What’s worse is that hazardous waste, the most toxic waste of all, is also not being properly disposed of. There are many companies dumping illegally with very little remorse for their actions. These situations need to be stopped so we can help our world become cleaner and safer.
Hazardous waste can be defined as anything that could potentially harm its surroundings even after being thrown away. Therefore, when companies don’t properly dispose of their hazardous waste, the chemicals found in the waste could have a lasting impact on the air, soil, water, and wildlife around it. So, just because dumping hazardous waste might seem harmless to some companies, it actually has lasting effects on our world, including water pollution and diseases for both humans and animals.
Major Companies Caught Dumping Illegally
Unfortunately, many big companies have been caught dumping their hazardous waste illegally. One of the biggest and most recent offenders is Target. The company has been caught in the act more than once over the past 10 years, and they never seem to learn their lesson.
In the most recent situation, the state of California accused Target of dumping hazardous material into a landfill through 2012 all the way until at least 2016. A probe concluded that the company had dumped electronics, batteries, aerosol cans, and compact fluorescent light bulbs into landfills. They also disposed of medical waste, such as syringes and prescribed pharmaceuticals, in the same way.
After further research, the state discovered that Target had dumped about 2,038 hazardous waste items, 175 confidential medical information items, and 94 medical waste items between 2012 and 2014. Since this reveal, Target has agreed to pay a $7.4 million settlement. However, they never acknowledged that what they did was wrong.
Target is not the only company that is guilty of dumping hazardous materials. Oil companies like Total and Shell dumped thousands of tons of waste into illegal dumping sites. Additionally, the California company that sells Crystal Geyser bottled water was caught dumping arsenic-tainted wastewater. The same problems keep occurring over and over again with very few changes. So, what needs to happen for companies to realize how harmful these events are?
Why Do Companies Do This?
It’s baffling that many companies are fine with dumping waste illegally, but there must be some reason behind it. These companies likely know it’s bad for the environment, but they just don’t care enough to do better. Companies dumping illegally just never seems to stop regardless of the punishments for it.
Sadly, many of the reasons behind dumping hazardous waste illegally just comes down to laziness. Oftentimes, disposing of hazardous waste properly comes with additional time, effort, and money. Many companies might find it easier to avoid all three of those things by getting rid of waste in their own ways.
However, not all companies are exactly the same. In some cases, they might lack the resources needed for proper waste management. Employees could simply not be trained in proper waste disposable or perhaps companies are too understaffed to handle it. Situations like these could leave businesses feeling like they have no other choice.
Also, a lot of companies could also be uneducated about the situation. They might not know exactly how to handle it or they might not realize the extreme affects that hazardous waste causes. If they don’t know the severity of the situation, they might not see the issue with illegally dumping hazardous waste. Of course, it’s likely that they know it’s not good since it’s illegal, but they might not know a better way to go about it.
Punishments for Companies Dumping Illegally
The first step to stopping illegal hazardous waste dumping is to make companies and individuals more aware of the costs. Not only are these actions greatly harming the environment, but they could easily destroy your business too. Unfortunately, many companies fail to see the long-term effects that these actions have.
The penalty for individuals in Australia can be as high as a fine of $500,000 or even 4 years jail time. For corporate companies, the fine can reach $2 million. However, these penalties can vary based on where you’re located. In many other countries, these fines are even more serious than that.
For example, the United States penalties are much more open-ended. They take the amount of waste, type of waste, who dumped the waste, and whether or not there were prior offenses into consideration. For companies like Target, who were fined much more than usual, the money doesn’t seem to be an issue.
What Should Companies Do in These Situations?
For companies that have to deal with hazardous waste, the best way to avoid these problems is to simply follow proper procedures. First of all, it’s important for them to understand their waste generator requirements and to maintain a proper license. In order to properly dump your hazardous waste, you first need to understand how much waste your company is producing.
Additionally, it’s important to ensure that all employees are trained on proper waste disposal. All it takes is for one person to mess up and not follow the guidelines. So, make sure everyone involved clearly understands the procedures to avoid any potential penalties.
Finally, the best way to ensure your hazardous waste is properly managed is to work with an experienced hazardous waste company. They can ensure that all your hazardous waste needs are properly taken care of. Plus, they can also provide proper documentation to prove that your company utilizes proper waste disposal. It’s still important to keep everyone educated about the situation, but contracting with a professional hazardous waste company could help reduce the amount of companies dumping illegally by a lot.
If you’re looking for a company to handle your hazardous waste both quickly and efficiently, then Hayward Environmental Consulting is here to help! We strive to enhance the nation’s safety, health, and protection, so contact us today for a no-obligation quote.