Road salts have become a popular and effective deicing method over the years but these deicers can be havoc on ecosystems.

Just like salt in water can create aquatic dead zones that suffocate plants and aquatic life, road salts can also damage concrete, infrastructures and vehicles.

Road salts are often used far too excessively, leading to high amounts of waste. However, people don’t know they can cause skin irritations and salt burns.

It is also dangerous to animals when ingested or absorbed through their paws or skin as it can lead to lethargy, thirst, and kidney damage.

In short, the hazardous effects of road salt can’t be ignored so it is better to look for less harmful alternatives.

Here we have compiled a list of some eco-friendly alternatives to road salt.

1. Sugar Beet Juice

Beet juice is considered an eco-friendly alternative to road salt. The beet juice is a waste product that remains after the sugar is extracted from sugar beets.

It helps lower the freezing point of ice and reduces clumping of road salt when it is spread on streets. It might not be as effective as road salt, but it is safer for pets and not corrosive to vehicles.

It is fully biodegradable and contains less sodium chloride as compared to other traditional road salts.

2. Brine

Using brine is also known as an anti-icing measure. Brines have great melting characteristics and are applied in liquid form.

The brines are also more effective in lower temperatures and using them is cost-effective. It reduces the melting point, prevents freezing, works fast, stays on the road, and consumes fewer resources.

Brine can help in safer travel and can provide improved road surfaces. Cheese Brine is also used for this purpose.

3. Calcium Magnesium Acetate

This name might be a little complicated but corrosion studies show that CMA causes less damage than NaCl to materials in vehicles. This can be purchased at common department stores.

This is an environment-friendly alternative and is biodegradable. Calcium Magnesium Acetate is a non-corrosive formula that does little damage to the infrastructure, vegetation, fish, aquatic life, and other surroundings around it.

However, it is more expensive than salt and is less effective when used in colder temperatures.

4. Sand

Sand is one of the most commonly used rock salt alternatives. It helps provide traction on slippery areas and roadways for safe driving in winters. It is relatively inexpensive and is environment-friendly.

Sand has no ice melting capacity and does not function as a deicer. However, it gives you a temporary increase in road friction on icy pavements.

Sand can also work effectively if you have a strongly bonded hard pack of ice or snow on the road that plows can’t remove.

5. Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds can be used for icy sidewalks and driveways. Coffee grinds can be used to provide traction but sometimes caffeine can be toxic to pets.

The brown granules can help to absorb heat and melt ice and snow. Coffee grounds have a natural acidity and are similar to sand or salt inconsistency.

So, it gives you some friction and provides traction as well. The dark color will also attract sun rays to help speed up melting.

6. Cat Litter

It has been found that natural, non-clumping cat litters are great eco-friendly substitutes to salt. These products can be sprinkled on driveways and walkways to provide traction in icy conditions.

These products are sometimes kept in the trunk of a vehicle while traveling. It can also be used in the case that the vehicle becomes stuck by sprinkling the cat litter under the tires for extra traction.

Cat litters are natural, environment-friendly alternatives to salt that will not harm vegetation, animals, vehicles, cement, or paved surfaces.

7. Fireplace ashes

Burning logs to keep warm produces a lot of ashes. Ashes from wood stoves or fireplaces can be strewn across sidewalks and driveways to increase traction. These ashes are environment-friendly and will act as a fertilizer.

Leftover wood ash is a cheap and easy solution. It consists of potassium salts and helps melt snow and ice. Fireplace ashes do not cause damage to trees and plants.

The ashes are actually beneficial for plant growth as it contains 13 essential nutrients soil supplies for plant growth. These ashes will also not corrode concrete or metals and will not injure the pet paws.

8. Grape Skin Compounds

Grape extract-based solution melts ice faster than other deicers. It causes less damage to concrete and asphalt. The solution also poses less risk to nearby water bodies.

The deicing solution was created by using chemical degradation and fermentation, a process that produces no waste.

It causes much less damage to roads, vehicles, and the surrounding environment.

9. Alfalfa Meal

Alfalfa meal adds traction, which is an added advantage in areas such as walkways and porches. It also melts the ice since it contains nitrogen.

You can also use it on surfaces that line your yard and garden. Alfalfa meal is a great organic fertilizer that contains many nutrients that plants need.

Alfalfa meal will help in nourishing plants as well. It is safe for the environment and can be found at local nurseries.

10. Vinegar

Vinegar is non-toxic and eco-friendly and a multipurpose cleaning solution.

Vinegar contains citric acid, which is incredibly useful in melting ice and snow. It is also easily accessible.

Mixing two to three parts apple cider vinegar with one part of water will prevent ice from forming.

11. Grit-stone

Grit-stone is one of the effective rock salt alternatives. It is used to improve safety during extreme weather conditions.

Stone grits are like sand and make it easier to walk or drive on icy, slippery surfaces.

You can also mix stone grits with decider salt to save road salt for harsher weather conditions.

12. Straw and Elbow Grease

Putting down a layer of straw onto an icy surface will help prevent slip. The straw will add friction and is organic, safe for children and pets.

However, straws can leave messy residues behind. Elbow grease is a great way to get rid of snow if you are strong enough to wield the shovel and have enough time to do a thorough job.

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