ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque City Councilor Louie Sanchez has introduced a bill calling on solid waste staff to develop a plan to deal with abandoned shopping carts. The bill would direct the department to work with a contractor to collect carts. Some could be returned to stores while others may be disposed of or recycled. Residents would also be able to go through 311 to report where abandoned carts are located.

However, the bill specifically notes it will not apply to shopping carts being used for personal belongings or as a shelter. Councilor Sanchez told KRQE News 13 that’s because there are rules that prevent the city from collecting personal property without the owner having the chance to get it back. “Let’s say for example they have their wallet or there was a credit card in there or even a cell phone in there, that shopping cart and they left it for a short period of time. Well, at that point, they may come back to retrieve it,” said Sanchez.

In May, the Solid Waste Department said it wants to expand its cart retrieval program and even proposed a $1 rate increase to pay for it and homeless camp cleanup overall. As of May 6, Solid Waste said it had gathered more than 5,000 abandoned carts this year.