June 21, 2024

When it comes to choosing a shopping cart, there are many factors to consider – including which materials are most environmentally friendly. Plastic and metal are the two most common materials used in shopping cart construction, and each has its own unique pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at the environmental impact of plastic vs. metal shopping carts.

Plastic Shopping Carts

Plastic shopping carts are lightweight, durable and easy to maneuver. They are also less expensive to produce than metal carts. However, plastic is a petroleum-based product and is not biodegradable. This means that plastic shopping carts may take hundreds of years to break down in landfills, and the chemicals used to produce plastic can be harmful to the environment.

On the other hand, many stores have started using recycled plastic to make their shopping carts, which helps to reduce the amount of new plastic being produced. Additionally, plastic shopping carts can be recycled into other products such as outdoor furniture, decking, and playground equipment. Some stores have also implemented programs to reduce plastic waste in their operations, such as offering reusable bags or giving discounts to customers for bringing their own bags.

Metal Shopping Carts

Metal shopping carts are durable, sturdy, and can hold more weight than plastic carts. They are also easily recyclable, and the scrap metal can be used to make new products. However, metal carts are more expensive to produce than plastic carts, and they require more energy to manufacture and transport.

Metal carts also have the potential to rust and corrode over time, which can make them less attractive to use or less functional. Additionally, if a store does not have a proper system in place for recycling metal shopping carts, they can end up in landfills where they may take years to break down.


Both plastic and metal shopping carts have their pros and cons when it comes to environmental impact. Plastic carts are less expensive to produce and are lightweight, but they are not biodegradable and can be harmful to the environment. On the other hand, metal carts are durable and can be recycled, but they require more energy to produce and may rust or corrode over time.

Ultimately, the best choice for the environment is for stores to implement programs to reduce waste and properly recycle their shopping carts, regardless of the material they are made of. This can help to minimize the environmental impact of shopping carts overall.