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Agreement to reduce shopping trolley dumping

10 June 2003

Press release

Agreement to reduce shopping trolley dumping problem

Shopping trolleys dumped in local streets and creeks could be a thing of the past, thanks to a Memorandum of Understanding between six supermarket and retail operators and Waitakere City Council.

The Memorandum – a first for the country – is being signed by Progressive Enterprises, Foodstuffs Auckland, The Warehouse, Coles Myer New Zealand Holdings (trading as Kmart NZ) and Briscoes, in a bid to help the Council address the visual and environmental pollution caused by shopping trolley theft and abandonment.

Currently, around 400 shopping trolleys are pulled from Waitakere City streams and streets every year – costing ratepayers $40,000 to $50,000 in retrieval costs and retailers up to $50,000 in replacement costs. Under the Memorandum, the supermarket and retail operators will now be responsible for the retrieval of those trolleys.

The operators have also undertaken to put in place practices to reduce the theft of their shopping trolleys, such as:

(a) Placing signs at exits and on their trolley bays warning of the consequences of removing a trolley from the premises and erecting signs along nearby waterways requesting people not throw trolleys into them.
(b) Undertaking monthly trolley counts to assess the effectiveness of the Memorandum of Understanding.
(c) Undertaking weekly “sweeps” of streams and roads to recover shopping trolleys.
(d) Forming an “on call” team to receive calls from Council staff about abandoned
trolleys and pick them up within 24 hours.
(e) Investigating whether there are any cost-effective options for restricting the ability of customers to remove trolleys from supermarket premises.
(f) Undertaking blitzes to prevent people leaving premises with trolleys and warning offenders that their removal is theft and may be treated as such.

The parties have also established a steering group, comprising council and operator representatives. The group will meet for an initial review in October to discuss the control measures put in place and whether any changes are necessary.

The operators consider that the cooperative approach put in place through the Memorandum is more appropriate than any attempt to impose a bylaw that would be difficult to word and enforce.

Council spokesperson, Councillor Brenda Brady, says the Council applauds the operators who have committed themselves to helping the City deal with the issue.

“For too long, Waitakere City has had to battle an increasing number of trolley dumpings in local waterways, streets and playgrounds and the visual and environmental pollution that goes with it. We are very hopeful that this collective approach will go a long way to remedying the problem and beautifying our City,” Cr Brady says.

“It is wonderful to see these partners come forward to help us to develop a solution to the unsightly dumping of trolleys. We want this to work. We live in a beautiful city and clean streams and streets are important to us. It is good that our business community is now recognising that it has an important role to play in the community.

“We also hope that this approach of the Council and businesses working in partnership will spread around the country.”

Ends

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