The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a program called the “Safer Choice” program, which helps consumers and commercial purchasers identify products that are safer for human health and the environment. The following are deicers that have been recognized as Safer Choice products by the EPA:
Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA)
- Potassium acetate
- Potassium chloride
- Sodium acetate
These deicers have been evaluated and found to have lower environmental and health impacts compared to traditional salt (sodium chloride) and other deicers. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and to apply these deicers in moderation to minimize their impact on the environment.
For more information, you can refer to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Safer Choice website at https://www.epa.gov/saferchoice for information on deicers and other products recognized as Safer Choice products.
Alternative Methods Instead of Using Salt
There are several alternatives to salt for melting ice on sidewalks that are more environmentally friendly:
- Sand: provides traction on slippery surfaces and doesn’t harm plants or wildlife.
- Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA): a salt derived from dolomitic limestone and acetic acid, which is less harmful to vegetation and metal surfaces.
- Beet juice or molasses: both contain natural sugars that can help lower the freezing point of water and melt ice.
- Kitty litter or gravel: can be spread on sidewalks to provide traction, although they don’t melt ice.
- Sodium acetate: a salt that’s biodegradable and doesn’t harm vegetation or metal surfaces, but it’s more expensive than traditional rock salt.
- Ash or Soil: Spread a thin layer of ash or soil on the ice to provide traction and help prevent slipping. Be careful as these can be messy
- Baking Soda: A natural and safe alternative to salt, baking soda can be sprinkled on sidewalks to help melt ice and provide traction.
Remember to always use these alternatives in moderation and follow recommended application rates, as excessive use can still have negative environmental impacts.