Tesla has agreed to a $1.5 million settlement to resolve a California lawsuit alleging improper hazardous waste management at its facilities.

The suit was filed by 25 counties across the state last week, claiming Tesla unlawfully dumped toxic materials like batteries, solvents, and electronic waste at local landfills and transfer stations over several years.

As part of the swift settlement announced yesterday (Feb 1) by the San Francisco District Attorney’s office, Tesla has agreed to appoint third-party auditors to inspect its trash containers for hazardous waste over the next five years. The company will also strengthen internal procedures to comply with state environmental laws regarding waste transport, storage, labeling, and disposal.

The lawsuit follows prior violations cited by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2019, for which Tesla paid a small fine and pledged improvements at its Fremont factory. However, investigations by undercover officers in recent years revealed continued issues with improperly labeled and handled dangerous waste.

District Attorney Brooke Jenkins said the new “settlement against Tesla, Inc. serves to provide a cleaner environment for citizens throughout the state by preventing the contamination of our precious natural resources when hazardous waste is mismanaged and unlawfully disposed.”

After being made aware of the hazardous waste issues through the District Attorney’s investigation, Tesla took steps to improve its compliance with the relevant environmental protection laws. Specifically, the company instituted new procedures across all of its service centers to quarantine and screen trash containers for hazardous materials.

Earlier this week Tesla, or at least its CEO Elon Musk, had a run-in with another state’s judiciary. A Deleware judge rejected a deal that would allow Musk to receive a $56 billion pay package.

Judge Kathaleen McCormick in Delaware called the compensation an “unfathomable sum,” ruling that he “failed” to prove that it was fair. The billionaire responded by announcing he planned to move Tesla’s legal headquarters to Texas.

Featured image: Joshua Sortino on Unsplash 


Sam Shedden

Managing Editor

Sam Shedden is an experienced journalist and editor with over a decade of experience in online news. A seasoned technology writer and content strategist, he has contributed to many UK regional and national publications including The Scotsman, inews.co.uk, nationalworld.com, Edinburgh Evening News, The Daily Record and more. Sam has written and edited content for audiences whose interests include media, technology, AI, start-ups and innovation. He's also produced and set-up email newsletters in numerous specialist topics in previous roles and his work on newsletters saw him nominated as Newsletter Hero Of The Year at the UK's Publisher Newsletter Awards 2023. He has worked in roles focused on growing reader revenue and loyalty at one of the UK's leading news publishers, National World plc growing quality, profitable news sites. He has given industry talks and presentations sharing his experience growing digital audiences to international audiences. Now a Managing Editor at Readwrite.com, Sam is involved in all aspects of the site's news operation including commissioning, fact-checking, editing and content planning.