Sustainable De-icing

Winters can get rough and slippery, and the ice can seem to come out of nowhere. Salt is often used to reduce the amount of ice and its slipperiness, but some rock salts harm the environment more than others. Here are some things to consider and try before defaulting to them.

Firstly, know your environment and what it needs. Sometimes frequent shoveling is enough to prevent ice from building up. However, knowing the environment in which you live is important for you to be able to assess the best precaution.

Next, try increasing traction if possible. This means using things like sand, fireplace ashes, etc. These cause minimal harm to the environment and are already found abundantly and naturally in the environment.

Lastly, deicers are necessary, try using ones that are less harmful. There are many DIY deicers that cause minimal damage to the environment. If rock salt must be used, try using calcium chloride or magnesium chloride rather than the standard sodium chloride. These cause slightly less harm to plants. Also, check out this list by the EPA of deicers that meet their Safer Choice option.

Read more about the University’s sustainable salting practices here.

Consider your environment when trying to reduce ice buildup. First try manually (or by machine) removing snow and ice. If needed, then try adding traction, and if deicing is truly needed, try using a more sustainable option.


Written by Zein Tynon, Class of 2024.



Image source: Pixabay

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