ENVIRONMENT | Councils unite over trolleys

Liverpool mayor Wendy Waller with trolleys collected earlier this year.

Liverpool mayor Wendy Waller with trolleys collected earlier this year.

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone with the collected trolleys.

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone with the collected trolleys.

Fairfield mayor Frank Carbone has called on supermarkets to charge a $5 bond for trolleys to keep them off the streets and waterways.

It comes as councils across western Sydney united for a one-day blitz last Tuesday with 550 trolleys rounded up across Fairfield, Liverpool, Penrith and Cumberland council areas. "Another 450 trolleys were collected during a previous round-up in June. Councils need to have the power to keep our city clean by enforcing regulation and fining the owners of dumped and discarded trolleys in our city," he said.

"We need to impose conditions on supermarkets and retailers to have a trolley deposit-and-return scheme so trolleys are kept off our streets and out of our waterways. It's too convenient to leave them and make them someone else's issue."

The western Sydney councils have urged Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock to introduce amendments to the Impounding Act 1993. Current laws only allow councils to fine customers who abandon trolleys.

Ms Hancock told the Champion the state government will launch a formal review of the Impounding Act early next year. "This will consider stronger powers for local councils and other potential solutions to reduce the impact of abandoned shopping trolleys," she said.

"Abandoned trolleys are a persistent problem for councils due to their size and weight even though they're a small proportion of illegally dumped items."

Liverpool mayor Wendy Waller -- who led the united effort to clean up trolleys -- said apart from being impractical, present laws don't address the real issue: retailers refusing to control their trolleys. "The Impounding Act was amended last year to allow operators of share bicycle schemes to be fined for their abandoned bicycles," she said. "It worked and we believe making a similar change will work just as well for trolleys. Our residents have had enough of their streets, parks and waterways clogged with dumped trolleys. Nothing will change until retailers are given a powerful incentive to stop trolleys from leaving their shopping centres."

She said they have no alternative other than to destroy trolleys if retailers won't take them back. Some collected trolleys were crushed as part of the crackdown. "We told the owners where they could be collected but the reality is they're not interested. It seems it's cheaper to buy new ones rather than collect old ones."

Local Government NSW president Linda Scott said they'll push the state government to change the laws so trolleys were recognised as supermarkets' property and abandoned trolleys defined as litter.

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