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California EPA says settled with Apple on hazardous waste claims

Reuters 06 December 2016 | Stephen Nellis

The California Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday said Apple Inc agreed to pay $450,000 to settle state claims that it had mishandled hazardous electronic waste at facilities in Silicon Valley.

Apple also agreed to increase inspections to settle allegations about facilities in Cupertino and Sunnyvale, the Agency's Department of Toxic Substances Control said.

"This matter involves an oversight in filing paperwork to close one of our recycling facilities as part of our expansion to a larger site," Apple spokeswoman Alisha Johnson told Reuters in an emailed statement.

"We've worked closely with [the Department of Toxic Substance Control] to ensure that going forward we have the proper permits for our current site. As we do with all our facilities, we followed our stringent set of health and safety standards, which go well beyond legal requirements."

State regulators alleged Apple opened and operated an electronic waste shredding facility in Cupertino, its home base, between 2011 and 2012 without informing them.

The department also alleged Apple mishandled metal dust from shredder operations at the Cupertino facility, which processed about 1.1 million pounds (500,000 kg) of waste before it was closed in January 2013.

Regulators also said that Apple subsequently opened another shredding facility in nearby Sunnyvale and processed 800,000 pounds of waste before notifying the regulators of the plant's existence. At the Sunnyvale plant, regulators alleged, Apple took hazardous dust swept from the floor and sent it to a disposal site that was not authorized to handle toxic waste.

The regulators also claim Apple did not properly report and track exports of hazardous waste and failed to mark used oil containers properly as hazardous waste.

(Reporting by Stephen Nellis; Editing by Dan Grebler and Alan Crosby)