One of the most common questions we are asked is: “Why make an all-polymer or “plastic” cart? What’s wrong with metal?” The best answer is to look at the automobile, agriculture, aerospace and ATV industries. The use of advanced polymer/composite components in these industries has led to longer lasting products, more design freedom, easier maintenance and increased durability…Aren’t these all things we are looking for in shopping carts? In cars, advanced polymer content has grown exponentially and is often credited with prolonging car lifespans. The MAJORITY of an aircraft is now polymer and composite materials. The housings and hoods on your lawn mower and tractors were once entirely metal. They are now entirely polymer. One of the key differences in these products is the use of advanced polymer materials, not off-the-shelf plastics.
Hoods and shells manufactured by Bemis have extended the lifespans of many heavy-duty, outdoor use products.
As it relates to shopping carts, there is often some ambiguity around what actually constitutes a “polymer cart”: Many manufacturers will refer to a cart as “plastic” if the cart has a plastic basket mounted to a metal frame…This is not a plastic cart and is certainly not a polymer cart using advanced material formulations. Because it’s frame is metal, this hybrid cart can still bend out of alignment, it can still rust and will require welding/grinding/recoating. Most shopping cart problems can be traced back to an issue with the frame. Simply placing a plastic basket on a metal frame doesn’t address these issues.
To add to this, most plastic baskets seen on this type of plastic basket/steel frame cart do not use advanced material blends. In our lab testing, most plastic shopping cart baskets like this have an Environmental Stress Crack Rating (ESCR) of 10 hours. For comparison, a Bemis shopping cart basket has an ESCR rating of 1,000 hours. The same polymer material that is used to make a 5-gallon bucket you buy at a local store isn’t being used on a Tesla. The same should go for polymer carts. Bemis supports the agriculture and ATV industries we mentioned by manufacturing heavy duty components that weather harsh conditions outdoors (click here to learn more about our custom manufacturing capabilities). We have seen first-hand how these products were improved by using advanced polymer and UV technology. By applying that same expertise to shopping carts, our retail partners are experiencing longer cart lifespans, vastly reduced maintenance costs and most importantly, a product that customers actually enjoy using.
To learn more about the the revolutionary way Bemis carts are designed and built, click here.
For a video on the breakdown of these differences, click here.
A hybrid cart with a plastic basket on a steel frame.
Bemis Polymer cart clearly having no issues supporting over half a ton of sandbags.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever been to KBB.com or another third party source to look at the total cost of owning that car you really want...Most people reading this would LOVE a 3rd party evaluation on cost of ownership for shopping carts…It just doesn’t exist. As buyers and facilities managers, you have to do your own homework on what equipment really costs you. At Bemis, we’ve spent time working with retailers' facilities departments and various service companies to understand how much a company is really spending over the life of their carts. Many retailers are shocked once they really begin to dive into their true cart ownership costs. It's expensive to pay crews of two to weld, grind and refurbish hundreds, if not thousands, of carts per year.
It's these costs that Bemis carts are designed to reduce.
Since the shopping cart as we know it was first developed by Orla Watson in 1946 (He invented the nesting shopping cart)…It has become one of the most ubiquitous and commonplace items in the world. So why should we strive to have the same looking carts as everyone else? Aren’t we trying to differentiate our stores? If you look at the original carts from 1946…they look exactly the same as many carts we see today. If you were to walk into a grocery store from 1946, EVERYTHING would look different compared to a store of 2020. What we want customers to experience when they shop our stores have changed over 60 years: We encourage them to sit down and eat, to browse, to grab a cup of coffee, take a cooking a class and much more. But for many stores, shopping carts haven’t kept up with that change. Your checkout registers look mightily different versus those of the 1950s…Why should your shopping carts look like they are from the same era?