Salt (sodium chloride) is still the main agent used for road de-icing. It is mined from rock salt. Calcium chloride brine solution is also used. About 10 million tons of salt are used for de-icing in the US each year. This salt can have an impact on area wetlands and water systems.
Alternatives do exist, they’re just more expensive so therefore not as popular. Salt isn’t good for lawns/flower beds, and it can leach into other water sources and hurt aquatic life. Also, my dog really hates getting chunks of salt between his toes when we are walking.
There are salt-free alternatives which use calcium & magnesium compounds, and these can actually be good for the soil and harmless to pets. Specific name brands include Magic Ice and Paw Thaw (see links).
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