Independence tightens rules on shopping carts

Mike Genet

Independence officials say they want to clean up the litter of shopping carts. 

The City Council Monday approved an addition to the City Code that requires certain businesses to have a shopping cart retrieval plan, including identification. The addition also makes it illegal to remove a shopping cart from a business premises without written permission. 

Mayor Eileen Weir said this is an attempt to tidy up the city's appearance. 

“You see a lot of shopping carts on the right of way, on private property and just lying around, and it doesn't give a good appearance,” Weir said. “I'm sure it's costly to the retailers to have them taken, but we don't have a program in place to recover them.” 

The code amendment requires retailers with 10 or more shopping carts to have a plan, submitted with the annual business license renewal, to retrieve carts found throughout the city. 

The retrieval plan must include, at minimum: 

• The owner's name and contact information to report abandoned carts.  

• Means to retrieve lost, stolen or abandoned carts off premises and outside of business hours. 

• Identification on each cart available to customers 

• Public notifications that removing a cart without permission is illegal. 

• A communication and training program for employees and contractors discussing the business plan and city code. 

“It's not to be punitive to the retailers,” Weir said. “It's just, submit a plan to us and let your customers know about it. It's part of our ongoing effort to make the city more visually appealing.” 

Weir said the City Code addition doesn't mean a homeless person pushing a full shopping cart, or with one discovered at a camp, will simply have it taken away. 

“If someone's pushing a cart down the street, that's a different thing to address,” she said. “It's like I've said before, we can't just go into a camp or under a bridge and throw everything away. We can't just throw away people's personal belongings.” 

“This is geared toward the (carts) that are abandoned and tossed on the side of the road.”