Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Trolleys, Trolleys Everywhere

Just... Trolleys. Shopping trolleys are the bane of my life. They're unsightly, they attract rubbish and anti-social behaviour, and if not chained together they roll about the place and cause a safety hazard. And they're everywhere. Northville is now better known as 'Trolleyville' and Cwmbran as a whole is one of the worst areas for abandoned trolleys in the country.

Some of the trolleys I spied out and about yesterday.

I've blogged about the issue before, back when I had a work only blog, and sadly the situation hasn't improved. When I was on maternity leave I've got to admit that I didn't report a single abandoned trolley, even when they were left outside our front garden. I just felt sick to the back of teeth of dealing with it.

And a few more.

But, of course, inaction only ever leads to dissatisfaction. The only way to get rid of trolleys is to keep reporting them so that the supermarkets come out and collect them. Some, I know, would prefer a blanket ban on removing them from stores, and I've been accused of being irresponsible for not supporting that. But being able to push shopping home in a trolley is a lifesaver for those who don't drive and can't afford a taxi. I've done it, my parents have done it, almost everyone on the estate has done it at some time or other. The problem is that not everyone then returns the trolley... Just the other day I saw a woman nonchalantly shove one into the hedge at the end of my parents' street then carry on walking!

We could go on all day.

Others would like to see Torfaen Council use local authority powers under the Environmental Protection Act (and updated Clean Neighbourhoods Act) to seize trolleys and fine the supermarkets for their return. But implementing them wouldn't be as simple as you might think - TCBC would have to find a suitable van, storage, somebody to run it, etc (i.e. start up money, something which is in very short supply!), and then the most common sighted trolley (Asda) would be untouchable because they're already signed up to a collection scheme. It is also my understanding that there are complications because land ownership is divided between the Council and the main RSL (Registered Social Landlord) in the area, Bron Afon.

Mary Millar of Mead Lane was pictured in the South Wales Argus last April, highlighting the problem. I was really pleased to see Bron Afon put their community allotment on that verge - as I put on the consultation survey, it might help discourage people from leaving trolleys there!

The ideal solution is a voluntary scheme that puts the onus on the supermarkets, without alienating them with fines. (The carrot rather than the stick, as it were.) Some supermarkets are already signed up to a collection service with Trolleywise. They sweep the area every day, donating to the Trees for Cities scheme for every trolley collected - and they even have an app which allows you to report any trolleys they miss. (Only for android or iphone, but I'm sure a suitable amount of faffing will get it installed on my Blackberry.)

And plenty of trolleys do get left behind, especially those which get shoved in hedges or more out of the way places. Then there are the trolleys belonging to stores not signed up to the scheme (Aldi and Lidl, for example). We've held joint meetings on the subject in the past, but they stumbled when it came to getting the traders together and on board. At the moment there is a report working its way through the Neighbourhood Services department of the Council, and Bron Afon have also been working with residents and the supermarkets to come up with solutions.

So, for now, here are the details of who to contact and how:

Asda, Marks and Spencer, Wilkinson, Sainsbury's. Trolleys from these stores are collected by Trolleywise. You can report them via their app, on 0800 316 1241, or at enquiries@trolleywise.co.uk.

Aldi. Ring them on 0800 042 0800 or email customer.service@aldi.co.uk.

Lidl. Ring 0800 977 7766 or email customer.services@lidl.co.uk.

Morrisons. Ring 0345 611 6111 or fill out the online contact form.

B&M Bargains. Ring 0151 728 5400 or via the online contact form.

TK Maxx. Ring 01923 473561 or email customerservice@tjxeurope.com.

Pets at Home. Ring 0800 328 4204 or fill out the online contact form.

Iceland. Ring 0800 328 0800 or via the online contact form.

ETA - I've since added a poster to the notice board at the Northville underpass. It's a little thing, but at least it's a start!

Are shopping trolleys an issue where you live? Do you have any tips on dealing with them?


  1. Wow, this must be so annoying, they look so unsightly dumped all over. It used to be a real problem here, but in recent years I have never seen a trolley outside of a supermarket car park. I have no idea what changed but something did! #effitfriday

    1. It just drives me nuts - especially people who just dump them right in the middle of the pavement. Trolleywise come every day before school and collect them, and by the time I get home from work it's as though they never bothered. :(

  2. This goes totally against what you say, but in our area the trolleys have wheels that lock when you get a certain distance from the supermarket. I also believe the average cost of a trolley is £70 so there's quite an incentive for supermarkets to collect them! #effitfriday

    1. Yeah, they're pretty expensive but it doesn't really seem to make any difference. Aldi are the particular problem because, as I understand it, their trolleys are ordered centrally so the local store just see it as the loss of staff time to collect them.

  3. Where I used to live I used to wish that the trolleys didn't lock outside the supermarket so I could push it home. They did though as it was a problem (London)

    I didn't realise that you could report them though!

    1. Yeah, I think most of the supermarkets around here are against having them lock too - they don't want people to go elsewhere!

  4. Hi Jess,
    I have been working on solutions to help reduce the amount of abandoned Trolleys in Cwmbran ( Northville ) for Bron Afon ,I was pleased to see your blog about this issue are you still pro active with this issue? If you want to you can contact me by email to discuss it further - steve.caddy@bronafon.org.uk .

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