More than half a million trolleys are stolen from UK retailers each year, costing British business a staggering £35m. These figures were released today by Wanzl, the leading global trolley and retail equipment manufacturer, which revealed that 520,000 trolleys were stolen in 2017 alone, costing retailers £95,000 every day.
Unofficial industry estimates suggest that the problem could be much worse however, with closer to a million trolleys clogging up towns, cities and rivers across the UK. In an effort to tackle this issue head on, Wanzl has launched a new initiative through its Trolleywise service.
Calling on members of the public to help report abandoned trolleys by downloading the newly-enhanced, free-to-use, Trolleywise app, it is hoped the abandoned trolley will become a thing of the past. Simply take a photo of the trolley using the app, and the nearest Trolleywise collection team will pick it up, returning it to its rightful owner if in a useable condition. When a trolley is reported via the app, the user will get an immediate message confirming if the trolley can be collected and then another message when the trolley has been returned to the local store.
New research conducted by Wanzl has shown that there is a real lack of awareness among British shoppers about the scale of the problem. Of those spoken to, 40% stated they did not see stolen or abandoned trolleys as a problem and a further 46% only saw it as a 'bit of a problem'.
The 25-34 age group was the biggest culprit for borrowing or stealing trolleys, with 57% admitting to having taken a trolley in the past. This was closely followed by the 16-24 age group, with 52% saying they had also previously taken a trolley.
Essex had the highest number of abandoned trolleys, with more than 40,653 reported cases in 2017. London, Gloucestershire and Middlesex were next in the league table, each having more than 31,000 collections within the same period.
Speaking about the issue, Simon King, Head of Retail Systems and Trolleywise at Wanzl, said: "Our retail customers take the issue of trolley abandonment in local communities very seriously, and we continue to work closely with them to find a way to reduce the numbers. The UK has the highest level of trolley loss in the world; however, our research shows a real misconception about the scale of the issue among shoppers. We are hoping that, by launching our campaign, we can raise awareness of the problem and engage members of the public to work alongside major retailers and help us to tackle the issue.
"A well-manufactured and maintained trolley can have a lifespan of fifteen years with many being decommissioned only because they have been abandoned or misused. By working together, we can tackle the blight of abandoned trolleys in green spaces, waterways and public areas, as well as reducing the impact on the environment of manufacturing new trolleys."
To get involved with the campaign, download the FREE Trolleywise app or visit: www.trolleywiseapp.co.uk.