Salt has long been relied on to ensure roads, sidewalks and other outdoor surfaces are free of ice in winter. Unfortunately, chemical de-icers tend to get washed into waterways where they harm wildlife and poison aquatic ecosystems. If you’re looking for an environmentally conscious way to make sure you don’t slip on your driveway, walkways and stairs this winter, here are some eco-friendly alternatives to salt.
There are several non-toxic materials that can be used on icy surfaces in winter, including:
- Sand: This abrasive substance provides traction on ice at any temperature, whereas salt isn’t effective in extreme cold.
- Beet Juice: The sugar in this biodegradable liquid lowers the freezing temperature of water, which helps prevent the formation of ice.
- Coffee Grounds: In addition to providing traction, these dark granules absorb heat, which helps to melt snow and ice faster.
- Alfalfa Meal: While it should be used in moderation, this natural grainy substance is highly effective at melting ice and providing traction.
Alternatively, you can lay down anti-slip ice carpets in the fall. These textured mats are designed to adhere to icy surfaces, provide traction and prevent slipping.
Keep in mind that an effective way to prevent the formation of ice on stairs and walkways in the first place is to clear away snow as soon as possible. You should also make sure to always wear sturdy boots and use ice cleats to help you keep your footing in slippery conditions.