Last January after a particularly harrowing visit to an under-siege-by-snow Seattle, I blogged about various salt-free deicers available to consumers. Now that the first major storm of the winter is moving across the country, I thought I’d follow up my recent post on the Earth- and-back friendly Sno Wovel with a repeat look at eco-friendlier deicing alternatives to salt. I'm generally not big on blog reposts but as many of us head to home improvement stores in search of deicers, I thought this topic was worthy of a second look. 

Deicing salt — according to the National Research Society around 10 million tons of the stuff is used on U.S. roadways annually — poses a variety of environmental woes and not just in terms of water pollution: it’s harmful to plants and trees, soil, and land-dwelling animals (like pets). It also isn’t too gentle on cars.   

Below are a few commercially available consumer products for use around the home that won't have you committing "a salt and battery" on Mother Nature. Do you use an eco-friendly deicer that works magic? What about a homemade recipe? Don't keep it to yourself — tell me about it in the comments section. 

Safe Paw Ice Melter @$20.99/8 lb 3 oz jug)

This specially formulated, non-corrosive ice melter is appropriate for all surfaces and safe for the environment, kids, and, of course, the delicate paws of pets. 

Keep It Green Snow and Ice Melt @ Amazon ($14.99/8 lb jug)

This mixture of potassium acetate and CMA also contains a time-release fertilizer that offsets any potential damage to vegetation and greenery.

Earth Friendly Products Ice Melt @ Organic-Vida ($10.95/8 pounds)

A mild, magnesium chloride hexahydrate-based solution that's safe for pets and vegetation. 

Enviromelt @ Cleaningpro ($49.90/35 pound drum) 

A long-lasting, biodegradable, and chloride-free deicer that's pellet-based and not harmful to vegetation. Low-toxicity to humans, pets, and aquatic life. 

IceClear De-Icer @ Planet Natural ($20/1 gallon)

This nontoxic, salt-free deicer boasts a special formula of renewable resources derived from agricultural products. 

Bare Ground Deicer @ Clear Air Gardening ($46.99/1 gallon) 

This grain-based deicer is nontoxic, water soluble, and biodegradable. Use post-storm to clear ice or pre-storm as an anti-snow agent.

I've also been reading quite a bit about folks, particularly in the Midwest, using beet juice (or molasses) as a deicer, although from what I gather it's only effective when combined with salt and calcium chloride. 

Photo: The Gut

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.