Comments on Sainsbury's Supermarket Trolleys

Letter to Sainsbury's

Mr Justin King
Chief Executive
Sainsbury's Supermarkets
33 Holborn
14 March 2007

Dear Mr King

Abandoned Sainsbury's Trolleys in Bishop's Stortford

I am writing to you on behalf of the Bishop's Stortford Civic Federation (BSCF) regarding the growing problem of abandoned Sainsbury's trolleys in our town.

East Herts Council has recently launched an initiative to clean up Bishop's Stortford by actively discouraging the dropping of litter in the town. We at the BSCF feel very strongly that Sainsbury's can also take a strong lead here by introducing measures to discourage the littering of our town with its trolleys.

Your current policy on this matter appears to be that members of the public have to contact Sainsbury's if they wish trolleys to be removed from our streets. This is quite unacceptable to us for a number of reasons:

1) Abandoned supermarket trolleys are an objectionable eyesore and do nothing to assist the council in its anti-litter campaign.

2) Why should the public have to waste time contacting you instead of you taking the initiative by taking steps to stop the problem happening in the first place?

3) Your trolleys are frequently abandoned where your customers leave them - at car parks and in the street. If no one contacts you, they are often not collected and can remain as litter for days or weeks.

4) I know that your staff waste a lot of time rounding up trolleys from a wide area surrounding your stores. They are also expected to arrange for trolleys to be fished out of the river Stort which is where they can sometimes end up. We have also been told that your trolleys are sometimes used by children for "chariot races" and get abandoned wherever the race happens to end.

Having discussed this problem with some of your staff members and concerned citizens of the town, we at the BSCF strongly believe that the best solution to this problem is for you to replace your current trolley fleet with coin in the slot trolleys at all your stores in Bishop's Stortford. You have done this in other towns; why have you not implemented this policy in our town?

I have been told that you have not been prepared to introduce coin-in-the slot trolleys unless other supermarkets in the town also do the same. If that is the case, then it seems a petty policy which completely ignores the wishes of citizens' groups in the town and does nothing to help reduce the litter generated by your company. I am also writing to Marks & Spencer - the other supermarket whose trolleys litter our town - in the hope that you both will at last start to take this problem seriously.

The negative publicity that this litter nuisance is engendering locally is not good for Sainsbury's. Given that you are due to open a brand new store in the Jackson Square development in May of this year, it seems to us that you have an ideal opportunity to address this problem in a positive and sensible way. We urge you take more responsibility and think about the communities you claim to serve.

When I and other members of the BSCF have written to Sainsbury's in the past (both by letter and by email) you have not had the courtesy to reply, let alone address this problem. I hope that this time you will answer this letter promptly.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely

Jeremy Morton

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