Saturday, 8 June 2013

Off My Trolley Again

I wrote a posting two years ago about how to report the large number of shopping trolleys that could be found languishing and rusting in and around our canals.

Quote: "I am given to understand that CaRT now have a Trolley Hotline Tel 01923 201120. The Shop-A-Trolley allows members of the public to report sightings of abandoned trolleys in CART's’ canals and rivers. This information will be used to help recover trolleys, to map hotspot areas and to identify a league table of the nation’s least and most environmentally responsible retailers. So CaRT must think that the supermarkets themselves are throwing their own trolleys in the cut. Or as Jim Royle would say, environmentally responsible my bum"

Two years later, I don't detect any significant decrease in the numbers to be found. But back then the scale of the problem of missing in action Supermarket Trolleys that end up in the canal was not known. CaRT have now revealed their estimated number to be over 3000 a year.

But all is not lost in the war against the unloved, unwanted, orphaned and abandoned Trolleys. Two years on and the scourge of rusty trolleys has come under attack once again. However, a new group is taking up the challenge. This time with a more proactive and positive outlook. 

Involving another smartphone application that on this occasion might be of some real use to boaters. 

It's called TrolleyWise.

There are millions of smartphones on the streets of the UK.  Each one can help to reduce the number of orphan supermarket trolleys that seem to be just about everywhere.The App is intended to initiate the recovery of any missing trolleys that you happen to come across. It is after all a good idea to report them before the local fly tipper uses them to convey rubbish to the nearest canal bridge. Then dispose of the item in the same place.

TrolleyWise quote: "There are currently more than two million trolleys in circulation in the UK, but up to 400,000 go ‘missing in action’ every year, never to be seen again. Many more are ‘borrowed’ and end up in canals or ‘joy-ridden’, ultimately being abandoned around town and city centres."

TrolleyWise is a simple-to-use, ‘point and click’ tracking technology linked to a national collection service that guarantees errant trolleys are off the street within 24 hours to be returned to the stores or repaired. Currently, cash-strapped local authorities have the responsibility of rounding up abandoned trolleys and charging the repatriation back to the owner supermarkets often by way of fines. The new system, which is backed by the major supermarkets, allows consumers to take control of a more rapid and joined-up clean-up. 

Canal and River Trust quote: “Around 3,000 shopping trolleys are dumped in the nation’s waterways each year. If you were to stack all the ones we recover on top of one another, they’d be taller than Canary Wharf. It’s mindless, why would anyone really need to dump a trolley in a canal or river? Abandoned trolleys are hazardous for boaters, endanger wildlife and, as a charity, we have to spend thousands of pounds to retrieve them, money that could otherwise go improving the canals.”

The free-to-download TrolleyWise app, for both Apple and Android smartphones, allows consumers to photograph the abandoned shopping trolleys, triggering a GPS location system that summons a collection within 24 hours by a specialist TrolleyWise team.

TrolleyWise are also swapping abandoned trolleys for trees, to make a positive impact on communities. For every trolley collected by TrolleyWise, Wanzl (who make trolleys) will make a donation to independent charity Trees for Cities. The campaign hopes to raise enough money to plant at least 2,000 new trees in Britain’s urban areas each year, the equivalent of taking almost 150 cars off the UK roads.

To celebrate the launch of the app, which is available from Here TrolleyWise will be giving away an iPad Mini and hundreds of pounds of retail vouchers in regular prize draws over the coming months.

This book should be on every boaters bookshelf.

Stray Shopping Carts: A Guide to Field Identification. The author is Julian Montague.

This book will be treasured by most boaters operating on the canals and rivers of the UK. It will help with species identification of those shopping trolleys to be found gracing the canals, rivers, towpath and other CaRT maintained waterside habitats. 


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