Hy-Vee introduces automated shopping cart disinfection system

Hy-Vee has started rolling out an automated cleaning system, called Sterile Cart, which it says fully cleans and disinfects carts after each use.

Plans call for more than 200 Hy-Vee stores in eight Midwestern states to have a sterile cart system in operation by mid-November. Announcing the rollout on Wednesday, Hy-Vee said it was the first supermarket chain in the country to implement the chain-wide cart disinfection system.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, we have been keen to reassure Hy-Vee customers with thorough disinfection measures,” Hy-Vee President, CEO and Chairman Randy Edeker said in a statement. “We are always looking for innovative ways to improve store operations, improve the customer shopping experience, and most importantly, ensure the health and safety of our customers and employees.”

The sterile cart cleans multiple carts at once and sanitizes the entire cart – not just handles and high contact areas – quickly and consistently, according to Hy-Vee. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based retailer noted that the system eliminates the need for store workers to manually clean each cart throughout the day. Since the coronavirus outbreak, Hy-Vee stores have been cleaning carts regularly throughout the day, as well as cleaning wipes in cart pickup areas.

Using a low-pressure spray system and dry-in-place disinfectant, Sterile Cart has a six-by-four foot footprint, allowing it to be placed anywhere shopping carts are returned and staged for use. customer use, Hy-Vee said. The system is manufactured by IZZA Manufacturing, based in Buffalo, Minnesota, and distributed by Ultra Green Packaging.

According to Kristin Davidson, president of Minneapolis-based Ultra Green, Sterile Cart was designed and engineered specifically to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

“The Sterile Cart system uses a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills 99.9% of disease-causing germs and viruses, including the coronavirus,” Davidson explained. “The system comes fully assembled, takes up minimal space and disinfects one to two trolleys per second. The sterile cart system provides peace of mind knowing that the carts are cleaned after each use.

The rollout of the shopping cart disinfection system in stores marks Hy-Vee’s latest effort to help fight the coronavirus. Earlier this month, the company began rolling out free COVID-19 tests at more than 150 pharmacies in its Midwest market area. Each pharmacy can test up to 12 patients per hour.

Hy-Vee operates more than 275 stores in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

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Peggy P. Gilmore