Statement by GVP Brooke Buchanan regarding recent EPA decision
Whole Foods Market signed an administrative resolution with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 6 to resolve recordkeeping and cataloging issues related to common consumer products that may become waste at stores located in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico. No specific environmental impact has been alleged.
The products in question, which are classified as hazardous waste when they can no longer be used for their intended purpose, include items like nail polish remover, certain products containing alcohol (i.e. hand sanitizer), liquor and certain vitamins. This often occurs when a product is opened and returned by a customer and can no longer be returned to the stores’ shelves.
Whole Foods Market has implemented a comprehensive compliance program that is designed to assist our Team Members to properly manage the limited number of products that may be regulated by EPA when they can no longer be used for their intended purpose. The company has extended the implementation of the program to all of its U.S. stores and facilities and, in partnership with the EPA, has committed to training and sharing best practices with businesses in Region 6 to support efforts to improve environmental compliance efforts across industries.
Whole Foods Market’s environmental compliance measures include:
- Updated environmental compliance standards and operating procedures for stores and facilities
- Enhanced training programs for Team Members
- Investments in enhanced IT systems to identify products that become hazardous waste in real time, so they may be tracked, managed and catalogued properly
- Retention of additional internal and external environmental compliance experts for program and compliance
The enhanced environmental management program that Whole Foods Market worked with EPA to develop goes beyond the compliance requirements that apply under the law. EPA recognized these extensive efforts in the administrative resolution.
Whole Foods Market takes environmental stewardship extremely seriously. By working in partnership with the EPA, we were able to resolve the issues in the five states, enhance our existing environmental management program and extend the rollout of those improved best practices across the company.
Types of Products (Important note: This list in not exhaustive):
- Flammables: Hand sanitizer gels and sprays, perfumes and colognes, nail polish, nail polish remover, liquor (48 proof or above), etc.
- Federal Toxics: Vitamins and vitamin supplements (containing chromium, selenium and/or colloidal silver)
- Oxidizers: Laundry bleach, hair color products with hydrogen peroxide, etc.
- Corrosive Acidic: Certain toilet bowl cleaners, calcium and/or lime removers, products containing acetic, hydrochloric or phosphoric acid, etc.
- Corrosive Basic: Certain drain cleaners, oven cleaners, warewashing detergents, etc.
- Universal Waste: Electronics, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, and some state regulated items, such as paint in Texas