Inner West Council

Shopping Trolleys

Abandoned shopping trolleys continue to be a significant issue for our community and a key concern for local residents.  Ashfield Council has adopted a Policy for the Management of Abandoned or Unattended Shopping Trolleys which outlines the responsibilities of the various stakeholders and continues to seek improvements in reducing the number of trolleys abandoned on the streets.

See Ashfield Council's campaign to rid our community of abandoned shopping trolleys!

If you see an abandoned trolley, phone Trolley Tracker on 1800 641 497. You could win a $1000 gift voucher!

When you use a trolley please return it to the bays provided. Do not leave your trolley where it can cause damage to cars or other property.
The cost of collecting and replacing abandoned trolleys is ultimately paid for by the customer in higher prices. Furthermore, it is an offence to abandon an item in a public place.

Policy for the Management of abandoned or unattended shopping trolleys


This policy has been prepared to assist Council and other stakeholders to:

  • Address the ongoing problem of shopping trolleys being abandoned or left unattended in public places.
  • To build relationships with retailers, trolley collection agencies and the community.
  • To facilitate trolleys not being taken from retail premises and the prompt collection by the owners of those trolleys left in public places.
  • To recognise and respond to community expectations  about the quality of life they expect  including to minimise the abandonment of shopping trolleys so as to:
    • Provide for safety of pedestrians and other road users;
    • Protect council and community assets; and
    • Preserve the visual amenity of the Municipality

Stakeholders Include:

  • Retailers, - owners and non-owners of trolleys
  • council,
  • consumers,
  • rate payers,
  • shopping centres management,
  • community group for ethnic communication,
  • strata management and real estate agents (to educate tenants/owners),
  • trolley contractors
  • Trolley Services Australia (owner of trolley tracker).

Community concerns about shopping trolleys left in public places include:
Visual pollution, obstruction to pedestrian thoroughfare, safety of pedestrians and motorists, public nuisance, environmental impact and use of trolleys as tools for vandalism. Dumped trolleys significantly reduce the amenity of our neighbourhoods and in some instances create a public hazard, particularly when dumped on pedestrian or cycle paths.

Policy Principles

1. Where possible, shopping trolleys should remain on the premises of the retailer who owns them.

2. The trolley owner should develop and maintain management programs to ensure that shopping trolleys taken from retail premises are collected at least daily.

3. Council expects retailers to implement “containment” systems that encourage the confinement of trolleys to the retailer’s premises.

4. Council may impound trolleys following the procedures under the Impounding Act 1993 where a shopping trolley has been abandoned or left unattended and
(i) is likely to cause imminent danger to a member of the public and
(ii) the trolley has not been collected by the owner or their collective agent after due notification has been forwarded by Council of the location of the trolley at least twenty-four hours previously.

Policy Statement

1. Generally, Council officers will notify the trolley owner or nominated trolley collectionagentof the location of abandoned trolleys which pose a risk or nuisance and require collection of the trolley within 1 hour of notification.  Abandoned trolleys which do not, in the Council officers opinion, pose a risk or nuisance will be required to be collected within 24 hours from the time of notification.

2. Council shall notify trolley owners in accord with the attached flowchart.  Written notification may be hand delivered, faxed or posted at the council officer’s discretion. (Trolleys from  the Ashfield Mall supermarkets are currently collected by trolley track 1800641 497, or (02) 49262755, or via website

3. Where trolleys are not removed within the time period stipulated in the list of abandoned trolleys they may be impounded under the provisions of Section 15 of the Impounding Act and transported to a holding area at Council’s Works Depot.

4. Under the provisions of the Impounding Act owners of impounded trolleys will be notified of the arrangements to be made for the or release the trolley in accordance with the provisions of the Impounding Act and the payment of the impounding fee as set in Councils schedule of fees and charges.  Where impounded trolleys are not claimed they will be kept for a minimum of 28 days after which they will be sold or otherwise disposed of.

5. Impounded trolleys belonging to retailers who have installed wheel locks coin return mechanisms or similar systems or who have provided ongoing trolley, containment management procedures will be able to be collected without charge within 28 days from the date of being impounded.

6. “Containment” systems include:

  • Coin/token operated systems with refund.
  • Trolleys with wheel locks activated by a radio signal or magnetic strip.
  • Cattle grids at carpark entrances and exits.
  • Radio signal transmitters on trolleys.
  • Any other system which demonstrates a commitment to contain trolleys to the owners premises, or to within the boundaries of a shopping centre and may include staff permanently  stationed at exits during trading hours.

Environmental considerations

The policy is aimed at minimizing potential environmental impacts of abandoned shopping trolleys by formalising retailers responsibilities and acknowledging consumers responsibility to return trolleys they have taken back to the store.

Economic considerations
Retailers are encouraged to implement systems that may exceed current practices and may include wheel locks, coin return mechanisms, staff at exits and promotion and sale of personal shopping carts.
Council enforcement resources are not expected to increase significantly as a result of this policy.

Social considerations
Council accepts that some customers may utilize shopping trolleys to convey goods for some distance beyond the retail premises to where they live.  Some shopping trolleys will be abandoned notwithstanding the type of management system in place.  This policy does not prohibit the use of shopping trolleys but aims to provide procedures for both Council and retailers to deal with abandoned trolleys and to promote the use of alternate means for customers to convey their purchases such as using their own shopping carts.  There are no perceived adverse social implications related to this policy.

Retailers responsibility

  • Provide to their local Council a list of contacts for their store/stores in the local government area (including phone and facsimile numbers), with additional company contacts at senior management level.
  • Authorise the store manager or their delegate to be responsible for liaison with local government representatives about trolley management.
  • Ensure that all trolleys are easily identifiable by council officers.
  • Ensure that trolley collection services are sufficiently resourced to enable collection within timeframes and at all times, including “after hours”.
  • Ensure that trolleys reported as posing risk or nuisance are collected immediately on notification
  • Ensure that all other trolleys reported are collected within the time limit agreed with/set by Council.  This may require an “after hours” collection service.
  • Retain a brief record of all trolleys so reported and collected or the time at which a trolley collector attended to collect a reported trolley if no trolley was found at that location.
  • Inform customers (through clearly visible signage and other means within the premises) that trolleys should not be removed from premises or abandoned, and that penalties apply for the abandoning of trolleys outside the retail outlet/complex.
  • Provide suitable, well signed trolley bays at exit points to retail outlets or complexes.
  • Provide to Council, on request, an up to date map showing usual trolley collection routes and schedules.
  • Trolleys to have prominent signage made of hard wearing resilient material clearly advising the contact telephone number of the collection agent for the trolley.
  • Each trolley to have clearly and permanently displayed its own identification number.
  • Actively promote the sale of personal (granny) trolleys to customers.
  • Trolley collection agents to provide to Council every three months  statistics on the number of abandoned shopping trolleys collected within the municipality..

Shopping Centre Management Responsibilities

  • Allow erection of signage informing public of their responsibility.
  • Provide adequate trolley bays within the boundaries of the shopping centre.
  • Ensure new tenants do not take and misuse shopping trolleys (may include clause in leases on formal agreements)
  • Where no mechanical or electronic containment device is provided for all trolleys trial for 12 months security staff at exits to advise shoppers not to remove trolleys from premises and provide shoppers with information brochures.

Council Notification
Council personnel who become aware of unattended trolleys to inform the Community Enforcement Team Leader (CETL) of the ownership, time, date and location of the trolley as soon as possible; the CETL will record the ownership, time, date and location of the trolley reported and forward that information to the trolley owner or their collection agent.

Public Education
i) Council will liaise with retailers in developing or implementing their education campaigns.
Such public education may include:

  • Signage within stores and carparks
  • Signage at entry and exit points of stores and carparks
  • Signage on trolleys
  • Pamphlets in stores explaining the Code of Practice and the need for customer co-operation
  • Local newspaper publicity
  • Direct mail information with council rates notices and other council mail outs
  • LocalChambers of Commerce Education on misuse of shopping trolleys.

ii) Council will place public notices in English language and community language local newspapers once every six months to discourage shopping trolleys being left in public places.

Legislative considerations

  • Abandoned shopping trolleys may be impounded by Council under Section 15 of the Impounding Act 1993.
  • Council must follow the procedures of the Impounding Act relating to impounding, storage, notification of owner, release and the charging of impounding fees.
  • A person who abandons a shopping trolley in a public place is guilty of an offence under Section 32 of the Impounding Act and may incur on on-the-spot fine.

Policy Implementation
Planning and Environment Directorate
Review date
2 years from adoption