After pulling 136 shopping carts out of a creek in the Mount Vernon area during an October cleanup, Del. Scott Surovell (D-44th District) has introduced House Bill 2011 during the 2013 Virginia General Assembly. The bill states it “shall be unlawful for any person to place, leave, or abandon on any real property in the county, or within specified districts within the [Fairfax] county."
It does not mention shopping carts specifically, but Surovell said the bill covers abandoned personal property. Grocery stores and department stores with shopping carts should be held accountable for retrieving the carts left abandoned in Fairfax County communities, he said.
If you’re caught taking a shopping cart from a grocery store and you take it home, under the Code of Virginia, you could be charged with a class 3 misdemeanor.
According to section 18.2-102.1 of the Code of Virginia: “It shall be unlawful for any person to remove a shopping cart from the premises, of the owner of such shopping cart without the consent, of the owner or of his agent, servant, or employee given at the time of such removal."
Last year, Del. Surovell hosted three cleanups of Little Hunting Creek. Each cleanup netted dozens of shopping carts and tons of trash. In 2005, Little Hunt Creek was named the “trashiest stream in Fairfax County” for what was “one of the toughest stream cleanups in county history.” Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality has also called Little Hunting Creek impaired due to E. coli bacterial impairments and polychlorinated biphenyls.
Jamie Miller, a spokesman for Giant Food, said the grocery store chain is glad to supply carts and their stores have a process in place where employees retrieve carts regularly.
“Occasionally, shopping carts are removed from our parking lots, and some store locations experience a higher than normal occurrence of carts not being returned,” Miller said in a written statement. “We very much appreciate the courtesy of our customers in returning carts and baskets after use.”