Shopping carts at the Co-Opportunity market on Broadway. (photo by Daniel Archuleta)

BROADWAY — When David Teixeira shops at the Co-opportunity market, he never grabs a complimentary sanitizing wipe for his shopping cart or himself.

“I don’t like grabbing the wipes,” Teixeira said.

But Teixeira believes he would use something if it cleaned the entire cart, and if all he had to do was push a button.

Soon he will be able to do just that. The Co-op on July 11 is poised to unveil a system for customers to clean their shopping carts. A car wash for shopping carts, if you will.

The Clean Cart System will be the first of its kind in Southern California, said Co-op Marketing Director Ricardo Chavira. The market is concerned about its customers’ health, installing the clean cart system to help prevent the spread of germs, Chavira added.

According to a study conducted by the University of Arizona, of the 85 carts examined in four states, 72 percent tested positive for fecal bacteria.

When researchers took a closer look at 36 of the carts tested, they found that 50 percent had traces of E. coli, along with a host of other types of bacteria.

Another study found that children who rode in shopping carts were more likely to develop infections caused by bacteria.

The Clean Cart System will offer shoppers an environmentally-friendly way to disinfect their carts, said John Fanourgiakis, the president of Clean Cart Systems, a San Mateo, Calif. company.

“The whole machine is very green,” he said. “It only pulls 3.5 amps, very similar to a lightbulb.”

The Clean Cart System uses 2.5 gallons of water to wash about 10 shopping carts, Fanourgiakis said, fewer than other cart cleaning systems.

The company’s system uses only biodegradable cleaning products for washing and rinsing cycles, Fanourgiakis said.

But most importantly for shoppers, the system is sanitary. Clean Cart Systems claims the process rids carts of 99.7 percent of all “organic matter.”

“When you wipe down, all you’re doing is bringing the bacteria to the surface and spreading it around,” Fanourgiakis said, referring to markets that offer shoppers disinfectant wipes to sanitize their carts.

The system at the Co-op will be located near where shopping carts are stored. Customers will load their carts into the system, and can select a 20-second standard or five-minute deep cleaning process.

The system will be unveiled on Monday. Clean Cart Systems will be on hand giving out reusable shopping bags.

Clean Cart Systems has placed their shopping cart cleaning system in other parts of the country for over five years.

Over the past year, Clean Cart has installed systems in Whole Foods and Draeger’s Markets in the California cities of Berkeley, Danville and Colma.

Before the installation of the Clean Cart System, the Co-op market has provided customers with sanitary hand wipes to use to clean their carts and their hands.

“I definitely use those,” said Gina Ladinsky, a customer at the Co-op. “If someone sneezes or coughs in their hand and touches the cart, and I touch it and I rub my eye, there’s the potential spreading of something I don’t want.”

But not all Co-op shoppers give much thought to sanitizing their carts.

“I’m concerned for my health, but to a certain extent,” said Brock deSmit. “I don’t live in fear of germs.”

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