The Shift to Better Salting Practices
Dirty floors. Rusted cars. Harmful to pets. Damaging to the environment. And an inability to work at cold temperatures…it is unfortunate that there isn’t an alternative to rock salt. But there is, and it is readily available within the Ontario marketplace.
Rock salt, which is essentially unprocessed NaCl, is readily available in southern Ontario as we are home to some of the largest salt mines in the Southwestern Ontario corridor. Yet, despite our knowing that our cars rust out, it burns the paws of our pets and causes significant corrosion (think the Gardiner Expressway and Champlain Bridge), we continue to use it and have adopted its shortcomings as a simple way of Canadian life. It’s as if we have accepted the consequences
and written it off as merely a necessity of winter. The problem is, there are alternatives, and really good ones that don’t create the same corrosion that rock salt does, doesn’t hurt the paws of pets, works at much colder temperatures, and doesn’t have the same damaging effect on the environment. So, why aren’t these products utilized more readily? That’s the million-dollar question or the 5-million-ton question.
Canada uses 5-mllion tons or rock salt per year despite the fact that its toxicity and negative impact on our built environment are known. Transport Canada has focussed on NaCl management and implementing good salting practices through training programs. However, despite their acknowledgment that the negative impacts of NaCl are known and severe, they continue to turn a blind eye to the fact that there are other products on the marketplace that can be used in place of NaCl. Just because salt is cheap doesn’t mean it is the right solution!
Nevertheless, despite having relatively benign de-icing agents within the marketplace, such PureMG, this year cities across Canada will stubbornly continue to coat their roads with literal mountains of salt. Although salt remains the single cheapest way to keep snow and ice at bay, the economics make much less sense when considering the awesome scale of the damage wrought every year by the salt truck.
PureMG is a pure pelletized magnesium chloride that has several advantages over rock salt. It works down to -33oC, which is significantly lower than rock salt that stops working effectively at about -9oC; it does not create that messy, chalky residue that rock salt does which tarnishes floors, carpets, and entranceways throughout Canada; it doesn’t attract wildlife to roadsides; it is pet-friendly assist will not burn the paws of pets; it is over 10x less toxic than salt; is significantly less harmful to concrete and steel, and does not cause the same catastrophic
consequences to our natural and built environments. From a cost standpoint, PureMG would be considered a premium ice-Melter, however, you need to apply 30% less than rock salt to achieve the same thing, but it melts ice and snow over 50% faster. Given what we know of NaCl, and given the need for alternatives, PureMG is the nicer de-icer!