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Go Green with the Library: Natural Ice Melts

As winter sets in, more of us will be buying rock salt to clean our driveways asnow footprintnd sidewalks. Unfortunately, all of that rock salt can end up in our water supply due to runoff and can even corrode the metal on our cars. Alternative ice melts are not only safer for the environment, but can work just as well as regular rock salt.

HuffPost Green lists alternative ice melts and how they work.

  • Afalfa Meal—also used as a fertilizer, alfalfa meal melts ice and provides traction due to its grainy texture. It works best when used in moderation.
  • Organic Salt-free Deicers— Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) is one of the salt-free deicers that has little impact on pets, water, and the environment.
  • Sugar Beat Juice—melts ice even at temperatures below – 20 ⁰ Celsius/-4 ⁰ Fahrenheit by reducing the melting point of ice and snow.
  • Urea (also called carbamide)—usually used as a fertilizer, urea acts as a mild ice melt that won’t cause corrosion or break concrete, but it can cause harm to plants due to its high concentration of nitrogen.
  • Kitty litter, sand, coffee grinds, fireplace ash—while these alternatives won’t melt ice as well, they do create traction for vehicles.
  • Heated Mats— also an option, but the most expensive. They use electricity to heat, melting snow before it has a chance to turn into ice. The mats can be placed in your driveway, sidewalk, and on the front porch.

Visit Rock Salt Alternatives,, to find more information and alternative rock salt brands.

You can buy most of these alternative ice melts at your local gardening store, Home Depot, or Walmart. A list of popular alternative ice melt brands include:

  • Bare Ground (available at Home Depot)
  • Safe Paw (available at Home Depot)
  • Earth Organic (available at Walmart)
  • Espoma (available at Home Depot and Walmart)

You can access all of these online websites on the computers in the reference department. All you need is a library card.

To read more “Go Green with the Library” posts, simply search for “Green” in the search box at the top of the page.

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