What can be done about dumped shopping carts?

What can be done about dumped shopping carts? »Play Video

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — After a viewer contacted Eyewitness News, wanting to know what can be done about abandoned shopping carts, we began to look into what the city and county are doing to alleviate the problem.

Greg Fenton with Kern County Code Compliance told us that they have had reports of shopping carts left along Edison Highway and also in Oildale. Fenton tells us another common place that carts are dropped off is at recycling centers.

"We're trying to educate ourselves as to the issues and to the severity of the problem," says Fenton, "and see what we can do to try and curtail the issues." 

David Paquette, code enforcement supervisor with the city of Bakersfield, says that if you are caught with a shopping cart off store property, it could mean a misdemeanor citation.

The county currently has no recourse when they find people with carts.

"We don't have any regulations at this time to deal with this, and we would prefer not to," says Fenton. "Once we regulate and develop an ordinance, then there's penalties, and I need staff to enforce that. We would prefer not to go there unless we have to." 

Both the city and county have been trying outreach and education tactics. 

"Over the years, and educating the homeless as far as whether they can have a shopping cart or not, you'll start noticing that most of the time they're not using shopping carts, they're using other means," says Paquette. 

Some stores in Bakersfield and the surrounding areas work with a cart retrieval company out of Los Angeles. California Shopping Cart Retrieval Corp. returns the carts for a fee.

Paquette and Fenton say if you find carts accumulating, go to cartretrieval.net and report them. If they are contracted company's carts, they will be picked up.  Code Enforcement can be called as a secondary resource.