Apple Pays 1 Minute's Income to Settle Hazardous Waste Case

Regulators were never told about device-shredding plant
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 7, 2016 12:05 AM CST
Updated Dec 7, 2016 3:03 AM CST
Apple Pays 1 Minute's Income to Settle Hazardous Waste Case
Developers look over new apps being displayed on iPads at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Apple is paying $450,000 to settle allegations that the company operated and closed two hazardous-waste processing plants without submitting the proper paperwork to California environmental regulators. The agreement announced Tuesday involves a now-closed plant near Apple's Cupertino, Calif. headquarters and another one in nearby Sunnyvale. California's Department of Toxic Substances Control alleged Apple opened, ran, and then closed the Cupertino plant without regulators' knowledge, the AP reports. The plant processed about 1.1 million pounds of waste created by Apple's devices during a two-year period before closing in 2013, when the operations were moved to Sunnyvale, where regulators say Apple processed about 803,000 pounds of electronic waste before notifying the state about its activities.

Apple described its conduct as "an oversight in paperwork" that didn't affect its health and safety standards. The complaint filed against Apple didn't include any allegations that the environment was harmed. But state regulators did accuse of Apple of mishandling fine dust vacuumed up from the Sunnyvale plant in 2013 after some devices were shredded. Regulators say the "baghouse" dust included hazardous levels of copper, zinc, and other particles that were improperly sent to a recycling center in Roseville, Calif., located about 140 miles away. That center wasn't authorized to store or treat the hazardous waste before it was sent to Canada. Settling the case cost Apple a relative pittance: The company reported revenue of $234 billion in 2015, meaning the settlement cost it a little over 1 minute's income. (Read more Apple stories.)

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