When your driveway and sidewalk grow slick, salt might seem like a harmless solution. Far from it, says Diane MacEachern, a long-time sustainability advocate and author of Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World.
Salt builds up in ground soil, where it leaches water and nutrients from grass, plants, and tree roots, MacEachern says. “It also absorbs a lot of oxygen when it gets into an aquatic environment, and can cause harmful algae bloom and other issues,” she explains.
Most chemical de-icers are as bad or worse. “These can get into and contaminate our ground water supply,” MacEachern says. “You also track them into your home, where toddlers may be crawling in it, or your pets may be licking it off their paws.”
Fortunately, there are better solutions than salt and harsh chemicals.
(Find seasonal recipes, inspiring imagery, and gardening tips every day inside the Rodale’s Organic Life 2017 Calendar!)