shoppingcartsCity Council approved the requirement for retail businesses to implement an Abandoned Cart Prevention and Retrieval Plan at their October 25th Meeting.


What is the problem?

  • Abandoned carts are unsightly and create health and safety hazards and visual blight.
  • Retail stores suffer from loss of property when carts are stolen

Goals of New Ordinance

  • Prevent cart theft
  • Ensure rapid retrieval of carts
  • Improve coordination between:
    • Stores
    • Customers
    • Cart Retrieval Companies
    • Public Works & Utilities

Effective December 17, 2015

  1. Business must complete Abandoned Cart Prevention and Retrieval Plan and have on file with the City of Watsonville.
  2. Provide the City with current on-site store contact for cart retrieval purposes.
  3. Upon notification by the City, store must retrieve carts within 24 hours. The City will provide the location. Failure to pick up carts three times in six months will require a revised plan. Failure to pick up carts three times in subsequent six months will require a contract with a cart retrieval company.
  4. After store hours, store shopping carts indoors OR lock carts that are stored outdoors.
  5. Place signage or placards on all carts that includes store name, address and phone number.
  6. Post sign at store that notifies patrons and others that it is illegal to remove shopping carts from premises without written permission of owner/manager. Owners may give written permission to a customer allowing off-site use for 72 hours for transportation of purchased items to home.
  7. Inform store employees of these requirements.

The City of Watsonville only picks up shopping carts that are abandoned in the mud or water of the sloughs or other inaccessible areas or that contain excessive trash. Easily accessible carts left on roadsides, along the trails, in parking lots, at bus stops, etc. are the responsibility of thestore owner. To retrieve carts that were picked up by the City, stop by the Waste and Recycling Drop-Off at 320 Harvest Drive, Gate 4, Monday through Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.


Contact Customer Service at 768-3133 for information on cart retrieval companies.

Cart Retrieval Company Procedures

  • Only abandoned carts are collected
  • Carts are not taken from residents
  • Carts that contain personal belongings may not be collected unless directed by local authorities

For questions regarding these requirements, please contact Nancy Lockwood at 768-3103.

You can read more on the California Business and Professional Code by clicking here.