News Release

T – 19 – 16
Barbara A. Lee, Director


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2016

Contact: Sanford (Sandy) Nax
(916) 327-6114
Sanford.Nax@dtsc.ca.gov

Apple Agrees to Pay $450,000 to Settle Hazardous Waste Violations

SACRAMENTO – A settlement agreement between the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and Apple Inc. was filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court by the California Attorney General’s Office on behalf of DTSC.

Apple has agreed to pay $450,000 to DTSC and to increase facility inspections to settle allegations of hazardous waste violations at facilities in Silicon Valley. The settlement stems from violations that DTSC found during a June 13, 2013 inspection of an Apple electronic waste shredding facility in Sunnyvale and a subsequent review of records. DTSC discovered that Apple had opened, operated and then closed an electronic waste shredding facility from 2011 to 2012 in Cupertino without DTSC’s knowledge and without complying with universal waste regulations,
including the mismanagement of metal dust from shredder operations.

Apple processed about 1.1 million pounds of electronic waste at the Cupertino facility before closing it in January 2013, and shifting operations to a facility in Sunnyvale. In Sunnyvale, Apple dismantled, shredded and disposed of more than 800,000 pounds of electronic waste before notifying DTSC of the plant’s existence and complying with all universal waste regulations.

Universal waste, such as electronic devices, batteries and other discarded consumer products containing hazardous substances, are subject to California universal waste regulations. Since they are considered a type of hazardous waste, universal waste handlers who accept universal waste must notify DTSC and handle the waste according to management standards required by law.

The shredding process produces a fine dust that is collected by a baghouse and filter system. The dust is classified as a hazardous waste due to the concentration of metals. The shredded devices are shipped offsite for recycling and sold as scrap metal. Apple, however, shipped hazardous dust and floor sweep from Sunnyvale to a recycling facility in Roseville that was not authorized to handle Apple’s hazardous waste.

After the inspection, records review and dust sampling, DTSC alleged the following violations:

  • Transportation of hazardous waste without a proper manifest
  • Failing to report and track exports of hazardous waste
  • Failing to label or otherwise mark used oil containers as “hazardous waste”
  • Failing to provide notice of closure for the facility in Cupertino
  • Failing to submit a written closure plan and cost estimate for closing the facility in Cupertino and for eventual closure of the one in Sunnyvale
  • Failing to demonstrate financial assurance to fund the eventual closure of the two facilities

“Compliance with the hazardous waste law is fundamental in protecting the health of workers and communities as well as the environment,” said Keith Kihara, Chief of DTSC’s enforcement division. “We are encouraged by the settlement and that Apple is working with us to take the necessary steps to comply with California’s hazardous waste law.”

As part of the settlement, Apple has agreed to maintain a closure plan and financial insurance for the facility, conduct weekly inspections of areas where hazardous waste is generated and stored, and will ensure that electronic waste, including shredded electronic waste, is properly labeled and not put into containers with dust derived from its shredding operations.

View the Complaint for Civil Penalties

View the Final Judgment Pursuant to Stipulation

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FOR GENERAL INQUIRIES: Contact the Department of Toxic Substances Control by phone at (800) 728-6942 or visit www.dtsc.ca.gov. To report illegal handling, discharge, or disposal of hazardous waste, call the Waste Alert Hotline at (800) 698-6942.

The mission of DTSC is to protect California’s people and environment from harmful effects of toxic substances by restoring contaminated properties, enforcing hazardous waste law, reducing hazardous waste generation, and encouraging the manufacture of chemically safer products.