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Bright idea in Belgium: UV zappers to disinfect shopping carts

[Aug. 26, 2020: Joseph Shavit]



BRUSSELS - Wiping down supermarket trolleys with disinfectant to prevent the spread of COVID-19 may soon be a thing of the past, at least in Belgium, where engineers have come up with a machine that bombards shopping carts with ultraviolet light to sanitize them.


The invention is being tried out in three stores, where shoppers take a trolley, wheel it into a metal box and close a door. Ten seconds later the door pops open and, with their own hands freshly sanitized, they head off to do their shopping.


“We wanted to make it even simpler than a microwave,” said Jean Demarteau, a member of a social enterprise cooperative in the town of Namur called OpenFlow whose volunteers design objects to help tackle the novel coronavirus.


“We have the equivalent of more than 2,000 suns in terms of UVC power received by the trolley. So the viruses have no chance of getting out and, once the cycle is over, the door opens automatically and the trolley is ready to use.”


Irradiation with UVC, a short-wave ultraviolet light, works as a disinfectant by killing or inactivating microorganisms.


The Belgian cart zapper costs 7,000 euros for the most basic model, but the designers say it will pay for itself after three months because supermarkets won’t have to employ people to wipe trolleys down between customers.

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OpenFlow is much more than a simple community of entrepreneurs. It wants to generate a real paradigm compared to traditional societies. First of all in the sense of the projects carried out, but also through the commons that its Entredonneurs will create.


OpenFlow wants to be the benchmark community of independent experts in Wallonia and Brussels to support the eco-responsible and sustainable transition of actors in the social and solidarity economy, and of SMEs whose purpose corresponds to our values.


For its Entredonneurs , OpenFlow is aimed at all those who wish to regain control of their social and societal impact through their expertise. OpenFlow is aimed at all those who want to work in a collaborative, participatory way. Who want to federate and be federated in projects having a local impact, for people, for ecology and for the planet.


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