Australians have a chance to cash in on $60,000 in prizes each year while supporting environmental sustainability, simply by reporting abandoned shopping trolleys in their area.
Anyone who reports an abandoned trolley through the Trolley Tracker website, app, or call centre, goes into the draw to win that month’s $1,000 prize to spend at the store where the trolley came from.
Each month, one prize is given to each of the five regions: Queensland; NSW/ACT; Victoria/Tasmania; South Australia/Northern Territory; and Western Australia, equating to a total of $60,000 each year, or $600,000 over the past decade.
The Trolley Tracker initiative is the brainchild of national collection company Trolley Services Australia, which has been relying on the community to help round up rogue trolleys for the past 25 years.
Initially the company offered scratch-its to encourage people across NSW to report discarded trolleys, but 10 years ago branched out to a national operation offering a chance to win one of five $1,000 prizes each month to spend at local supermarkets.
Abandoned trolleys cause environmental impact
The motivation for reporting the rogue trolleys is divided down the middle, with half Trolley Tracker reports coming from those with an altruistic conscience, while the other half are keen on winning the monthly prize.
Not only are abandoned shopping trolleys making communities look unsightly, they are also creating a significant environmental impact, Director of Trolley Services Australia Chris Ford told Yahoo 7 News.
“The more reports we get, the more we can get back before the trolleys end up in creeks and waterways,” he said.
“The trolleys have the potential to end up in rivers and stormwater drains which could become blocked with debris and cause flooding in the event of a storm.”
The problem is also costing the retail industry about $200-$300 million each year, which includes replacing, maintaining, insuring and collecting the trolleys, Mr Ford estimated.
For every 20 trolleys replaced, a tonne of carbon dioxide is added into the Earth’s atmosphere, a University of Newcastle study found.
“[The cost is] making its way into the bottom line… We all pay for it at the checkout,” Mr Ford said.
He called it an issue of environmental and social responsibility, urging people to not just report abandoned trolleys, but more importantly bring them back to the trolley bays after they have finished shopping.
People can report rogue Woolworths, Big W, Dan Murphys, and select IGA and IKEA trolleys through the Trolley Tracker website or app which can be downloaded from iTunes or the Google Play Store, or call 1800 641 497.
Abandoned Coles trolleys can also be reported on the supermarket’s website, through the Coles app, or by calling 1800 TROLLEY (1800 876 553), however the retail giant does not offer a prize incentive.