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Why do we grit roads?

Wintertime brings about many challenges for people trying to go about their daily lives, not least of which is coping with slippery ice on driveways, pavements and roads. Falls from slipping or sliding over on black ice, hardened snow and frost account for a high proportion of the injuries seen by hospital A&E departments in the colder months and the repercussions from these can last for a lot longer than one season.

Additionally, cycling and driving is more dangerous to do on an icy road due to the lack of traction and longer time needed to brake safely. Collisions between cars etc. are more likely to occur if one or more driver starts to lose control of their vehicle. A quick and easy way to reduce the risk and clear away dangerous snow, frost or ice is to spread grit of some form or another onto the road to add traction and help melt the ice so that it turns back into a liquid and runs safely off the surface into the gutters. However, all grit is not the same, and some types are more suitable to use than others.

What is grit made of?

Traditionally, grit used to clear the road is made largely of rock salt. The salt lowers the freezing temperature of the moisture in the ice, causing it to melt away. It breaks down the molecules and makes it harder for the ice to remain frozen. Salting icy roads in this way is effective, right down to temperatures of -26.6 degrees C; however, as already mentioned, it also causes problems due to its corrosive toxicity and effect on the surrounding environment. It is also not safe to eat, so causes additional harm to pets who get it on their paws and lick them to remove it.

Is rock salt safe?

Using the correct terminology from science, rock salt is made of the chemical sodium chloride, which can cause painful salt burns to humans and animals alike if handled too much or incorrectly. It can also be harmful when inhaled, so wearing a mask when applying it is vital.

Rock salt can also harm roads, pavements and driveways, infiltrating porous materials such as concrete and asphalt and lowering their pH level, making it less stable and more prone to cracks, surface spalling and fissures from passing traffic. In turn, these cracks pose a risk to the vehicles themselves and increase the probability of punctures and tears to the tyres and corrosion to the underside of cars, lorries and vans.

How long does salt last on the roads?

Rock salt can stay on pavements and roads for a long time, spreading onto vehicles and people for several days before eventually running off in water from the melted ice or winter rainfall. This is why it is capable of causing such widespread problems.

Once it is diluted in the run-off water or rain puddles, it stays around in liquid form for longer, seeping into the soil, flowing into water sources and clinging to the underside of vehicles and the soles of people’s shoes and animals’ paws. Just one application of rock salt can stay in the local area in one form or another for days, if not weeks.

Does road grit damage the environment?

While road grit consisting mainly or wholly of rock salt can be effective as a deicer, it can cause significant harm to the environment, threatening habitats nearby, such as lakes and rivers, domestic gardens and hedgerows. This is due to the salt getting into water sources, injuring local wildlife and altering the chemistry of the ecosystems affected.

From causing fish, water fowl and other lake and pond life to become sick to leading to plants to defoliate, rock salt affects the environment at multiple levels. Plants absorb the rock salt instead of the crucial minerals they need to survive, which causes mineral deficiencies and makes it harder for the roots to draw up the water from the soil the plant needs to survive.

Why it’s important to use EcoGrit Concentrate

The good news is that there are viable alternatives for deicing and gritting the roads in colder temperatures that do not result in such harmful repercussions. Using an organically derived grit compound that does not contain rock salt will give all the benefits of a powerful deicer safely and easily. EcoGrit Concentrate fits the bill perfectly, with its corrosive ingredients and pet-friendly formula

Carrying EcoGrit with you in your vehicle offers valuable peace of mind that you have to worry about sliding and causing an accident, or having to abandon your car mid-journey. EcoGrit will help get you home and out of the adverse winter weather without harming passers-by, pets, the local wildlife or your own vehicle and belongings.

When is it the right time to grit roads?

We have all seen the huge grittering machines doing their work on frosty roads, and being able to apply grit as quickly as possible really helps keep surfaces safe and traffic flowing smoothly during colder spells. You can apply grit at any stage, but getting it down sooner will generally reap more effective results. Grit can stay on the surface for several days; however, as traffic passes over it, it can be worn away or carried off in melted ice, so regular reapplication is wise.

EcoGrit works on icy surfaces for up to seven days in temperatures down to -20 degrees C. You can even apply it before ice forms to help alleviate problems before they arrive – just keep an eye on the forecast to be well prepared this winter.

What is black ice?

When roads freeze over, they can become covered by a thin layer of smooth ice that is practically invisible to the human eye. This is known as black ice and is more dangerous than coatings of frost or snow, due to its lack of visibility. Vehicles and pedestrians alike can be caught unawares by black ice, especially in areas where it is patchy and so more unpredictable. It is best to stay calm when faced with black ice. Slow down, stay vigilant and keep the vehicle as straight as you can until you can regain traction. If you are walking, try to hold on to a rail or similar to help yourself stay upright and wear suitable shoes or boots with a good, grippy sole so you don’t slip over too easily.

Dangers of potholes

If you ask any group of motorists what their top irritations are when it comes to driving along the road, potholes and damage to the roads will come pretty high up the list for most, if not all of them. Potholes can damage a vehicle badly if someone drives into one without realising, as well as cause more serious problems with multiple pile-ups, traffic jams and gridlock on the roads.

How are potholes crecar tyres driving through potholesated?

Potholes are created when groundwater expands and contracts after it has seeped under the surface, through porous material such as concrete or asphalt. The water expands as it freezes in sub-zero temperatures, taking up more space and forcing the material around it to bend and eventually crack to make room. The water then melts as temperatures rise above freezing, but the cracks and damage to the surface remain in place.

As this pattern repeats itself with changes to the temperature over subsequent days and nights, so the surface becomes weaker and weaker, until the cracks widen into full-blown, dangerous potholes. The situation is also not helped by heavy vehicles constantly driving over the top, adding more pressure to the compromised surface.

In sub-zero temperatures, potholes on the road are often accompanied by layers of snow or ice that has frozen to the surface, adding to the hazards faced by motorists and pedestrians trying to navigate safely along.

As people try to clear the ice and snow using traditional de-icing methods like rock salt, the corrosive nature of the salt further damaged the areas where there is cracking, making potholes larger, more dangerous and harder to repair. The rock salt alters the chemistry of the snow or ice, lowering the temperatures at which it freezes and so speeding up the freeze-thaw cycle that is so damaging to pavements and roads.

How do potholes increase driving risk?

The most obvious one of the many pothole dangers to the driving public is around the risk of driving into one, causing the vehicle to skid, swerve or come to an abrupt stop, damaging itself and posing a very real risk for people travelling behind it. Many road traffic accidents can be attributed to cracks and potholes in the road, especially in winter when there is less daylight and driving conditions are worsened by the presence of slippery snow, frost or black ice – which can be invisible until it is too late to react.

Likewise, on pavements and paths, the hazards of potholes and cracks can cause pedestrians, animals and cyclists to trip, fall and experience injuries during a normal outing. This can cause a distraction to pass motorists, who look to see what has happened or seek to pull over to try and help out.

In addition, badly maintained roads can often lead to traffic building up all around them as drivers are obliged to go slower as they work their way around a hazard like this. Traffic jams are a not uncommon consequence, which leads to impatience, frustration and higher chances of drivers taking dangerous risks to either circumnavigate the queue or make up ‘lost time’ by speeding once they drive away from the blockage.

Damage caused by potholes to cars and cyclists

Tyres

tyres been changed due to potholeWhen a vehicle hits a pothole, the first point of contact and area that will take the hardest impact is the tyres. Punctures are very common following hitting a pothole or crack, due to the sharp areas inside the pothole or crack where the concrete or other materials used have ripped and are now sticking out and sharp, jagged angles.

Punctures can be immediately catastrophic, stopping the car instantly and requiring emergency roadside assistance, or they can be small but deadly, allowing air to hiss out almost undetected until the tyre goes flat and needs replacing. Either way, dangerous potholes are bad news for tyres.

Wheel alignment

One area that many motorists overlook when assessing their tyres for damage from a pothole is that the wheel alignment, or ‘tracking’, may have been damaged too. This is far costlier to fix, and is very dangerous to leave unrepaired.

The jolt of a vehicle hitting a pothole, tyre first, can knock the angle and direction at which your tyres are set out of kilter, unbalancing the car and causing the tyres to wear unevenly. Signs that your wheel alignment off includes a sensation that the car is dragging or pulling to one side, vibrations through the steering wheel and squealing noises when you drive at low speeds.

Suspension

A vehicle’s suspension comprises the shock absorbers, springs and links that connect it to its wheels and allows it to move. It also allows the driver and their passengers to have a smoother ride. As such, this area is especially vulnerable when it comes to pothole damage.

Just as the jolt of hitting a dangerous pothole can damage tyres and send wheels out of alignment, so too can it seriously affect the suspension and make handling far harder. If you suspect that your vehicle’s suspension has been affected by hitting a pothole, crack in the road or kerb, it is vital that you get it checked as quickly as possible to prevent further damage or risk.

Effects of potholes on the economy

councils budgets affected by potholesWhile the effects that potholes have on road and pavement surfaces and the vehicles and pedestrians that use them, there can be no doubt that the danger of potholes has a hugely adverse effect on the wider economy too. From a domestic budget point of view, people must pay for vehicle repairs, which can have a knock-on effect on motor insurance and financial value of the affected vehicle when it comes to resale.

On a wider scale, the council in charge of road repairs must dig deeper into their budgets to pay for repairs and road resurfacing, which can affect a provision in other service areas and civic amenities. Traffic jams also cause delays for people needing to get to the office, take children to school or to make it on time to essential appointments.

This affects employee performance, pupil attendance records and accessibility to important appointments, medical or otherwise. Injuries can also lead to costly lawsuits and lengthy negotiations with law firms and solicitors over appropriate financial compensation and other legal matters following a pothole-related injury. Drivers stuck in jams will also need to buy more fuel than they would have done if the roads were all lovely and smooth with no queues to tackle along the way.

All of this leads to wasted money and a negative impact on the economy. The problems don’t simply stop as soon as a vehicle drives out of a pothole. Government councils, businesses and individuals must pay the price and always remain vigilant to the risk of potholes and the importance of choosing the right pothole solution.

Looking for ways to protect the road during winter conditions?

We may be heading into summer, but there is no time like the present to start thinking about how to protect key roads, pavements, driveways and other surfaces from dangerous potholes and cracks when the winter temperatures start to return.

Traditional methods of de-icing such as rock salt are corrosive to surfaces, weakening them and expediting the forming of potholes. They can also cause serious harm to pets, local flora and fauna and ecosystems, as well as damage people’s property and vehicles.

Switching to a gentler, non-corrosive alternative that still offers excellent de-icing properties and long-lasting results can help you clear unwanted ice and snow without putting surfaces at increased risk of potholes. Eco Grit Concentrate is environmentally friendly and easy to apply. To find out about the many advantages of using EcoGrit Concentrate this winter, speak EcoGrit or visit the website today.

How to reduce your carbon footprint

How to reduce your carbon footprint

Carbon emissions and their effect on greenhouse gases and climate change have long been at emissions from factories increase carbon footprintthe top of the global agenda, but many of us don’t know where to start in doing our bit. It can all seem so big and impossible to make a difference, yet there are several things we can do to help. From making energy-saving adjustments to our home lives to introducing small ecological changes at work and encouraging young people to live sustainably by leading by example at school.

Read in to discover ten easy pieces of advice to help you reduce our energy use, minimise our carbon footprint and generally help protect and preserve the world in which we live.

How to reduce carbon footprint at home

Shop locally

An easy way to decrease your carbon footprint is to buy food, ingredients and anything else you might need as locally as possible. Research where and when your local farmers’ markets open and get to know the shops and businesses in your immediate vicinity. Try not to automatically reach for the internet to buy what you need. The fewer the miles that products travel, the lower their impact on climate change will be.

Try to keep your fridge, kitchen and home stocked with locally produced items as much as you can and always shop responsibly to ensure that you know exactly what you are eating, and that unethical farming and non-sustainable production practices can be stamped out wherever possible.

Travel more sustainably

Recent coronavirus-related events aside, we all need to travel away from home for various reasons, distances and time periods. Cars, trains, planes and other forms of transport all have an impact on greenhouse gases and carbon emissions due to the fuel that is burned. There are all kinds of ways to travel more responsibly, from taking public transport over a gas-guzzling car and making the switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle engine to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Don’t forget the surfaces on which you travel too. Keeping them in good condition will help reduce wear and tear on vehicles and so keep performance and fuel consumption at their best. Don’t use products that can be corrosive or damaging to them, such as rock salt to clear ice in the winter. Opting for a safer, more environmentally-friendly alternative such as EcoGrit Concentrate will help you to do your bit when it comes to clearing icy roads responsibly.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

This alliterative phrase has been around for a while now, but that doesn’t lessen its importance. It generally takes more energy to make new products than it does to recycle or reuse existing materials and the recycling process also cuts down on the amount of waste we send to the landfill as a planet. Less litter also helps with the wider environment, keeping the Earth’s delicate habitats safe and clean for wildlife and helping to minimise carbon emissions.

Simple ways to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ at home include taking your own cloth or paper bags shopping and turning raw food waste into compost for the garden. Washing out plastic pots for future storage is a useful tip, as is saving envelopes and the backs of letters you no longer need for making lists and notes on.

reusing plastic will help reduce emissionsWatch your water use

Using a lot of water at home puts pressure not only on the water and sewage systems, but it wastes energy and affects your carbon footprint. Try a few simple changes, such as only filling the kettle with as much water as you need for your morning cuppa or for cooking pasta, rice or vegetables for dinner. Take showers instead of baths and turn the tap off while you are brushing your teeth, rather than letting it run the whole time.

If you have the outdoor space, consider collecting rainwater in a suitable container – this can be used to flush the toilet or to water the garden. You can also save lightly used water to clean the car or to wash down the patio outside, so long as there are no chemicals present that could harm the nearby wildlife, such as rock salt.

 

How to reduce carbon footprint at work

Power down

We all know the importance of taking regular rest breaks at work to become more productive and avoid burn-out, but the same applies to our electrical appliances. Turn off computers, printers, photocopiers and the like at the mains when you leave the office at night to save electricity and allow everything to cool down. The same goes for lunchtimes if you are in the habit of leaving your desk for the entire hour – a good habit to get into, by the way – switch off your IT equipment to save energy and reduce your organisation’s carbon footprint.

Lighting and heatingturning off lights in the office helps reduce emissions

The same goes for your office’s lighting and heating. Leaving lights burning and radiators blasting out heat when no-one is there is a sure-fire way to waste energy and increase your commercial carbon footprint. Nominate someone to check on this, especially when the office shuts for a longer period, such as Christmas or during the summer holidays. Install a thermostat if you don’t have one already to keep a firmer control on the amount of heat being produced. Don’t let it all escape through opened windows.

Another useful way to keep a lid on wasted light usage is to install motion-sensors that turn lights off automatically after a short period of time with no movement being detected in the room. This is a simple, yet highly effective way to save a surprisingly large amount of money on your electricity bills. Plus, there is the option of switching to LED lighting, which requires less energy to operate and produces high enough levels of light for an organisation to function all year round.

Be socially aware

Corporate social responsibility is a big part of many companies that recognised their duty towards their wider community and helping those in society who are in need of a hand, financially or otherwise. Here is another great avenue for working more responsibly. Support energy-saving charities and organisations seeking to make a difference and fight climate change, from green pressure groups to charities offsetting energy use with tree planting and similar ecologically sound initiatives.

There are many ways in which you can support groups like these, from raising money to donate to their latest fundraising campaign to volunteering as a group of employees, or on an individual basis, for a day, week or even longer on an energy-saving related project.

How to reduce carbon footprint at school

Alternative energy

It’s never too early to start learning about how to reduce your carbon footprint and school is an excellent place to teach the younger generation about energy efficiency and sustainable living. Lead by example by installing LED lighting, motion-detection sensors and another energy-saving measures in the classrooms and public spaces. Have a recycling station where the pupils are encouraged to deposit used paper and plastic or cardboard packaging from their school projects and packed lunches.

Think about outdoor spaces too. Can the school install solar panels or introduce rainwater butts to save water? What about creating a wildlife garden to teach the children about the flowers, insects and animals that share their school space? You could introduce bird boxes, bug hotels and wildflower meadows too, to encourage wildlife into the school.

Walking warriors

Cars and vehicles pose many dangers to children, not least when they are arriving and leaving school and the start and end of the day. From driving too fast to parking dangerously, drivers are often too concerned with the movements of their own progeny to notice the wider effect that their actions could be having. Think about introducing measures to discourage driving too close to the school, such as barriers, no parking zones and warning notices.

One step further (quite literally, kin this case) would be to start a campaign to encourage walking to school, at least for some of the distance. Get the kids to design posters, talk to their families and learn facts about walking to get more families to ditch the car in favour of Shanks’ Pony. This has the dual benefit of reducing carbon emissions at the same timer as helping people to stay fit, healthy and active.

Knowledge is power

Finally, capture young imaginations by teaching your pupils all about climate change, global warming, greenhouse gases and the many and varied ways they can help reduce their own carbon footprint at school and at home. You may well be surprised by the ideas they come up with and the passion they feel for protecting the planet, reducing pollution and saving precious natural resources.

How Ecogrit concentrate can help

If you are keen to know more about how treating icy roads in an ecological, non-corrosive way to reduce your own carbon footprint this winter, visit EcoGrit online to find out more about its long-lasting, effective, organically derived de-icing solution.

How are potholes formed?

What are potholes?

Potholes are the bane of many a motorist’s and cyclist’s life. They can cause extensive damage to tyres and vehicle undercarriages, as well as providing a nasty tripping hazard for pedestrians and an added risk for cyclists as they negotiate their cycle around affected areas, weaving in and out of the traffic.

What’s more, potholes in the road look ugly and make the whole area look awful. The bad news is that potholes are far from uncommon, with an estimated one on six of Britain’s roads around the country considered in urgent need of resurfacing.

Whatever their geographical location, roads, streets, paths and pavements are all susceptible to pot hole formation. They are caused by ground water expanding and contracting after it has seeped under the surface, compromising the concrete, asphalt or other types of material above. As water freezes into ice, it expands, taking up more space and forcing the surface to bend and crack as it takes up more and more room.

The problem with potholes – Is it getting worse?

Then, as it cools back into water, it contracts again, leaving large gaps under the surface that allow even more water to get in. Eventually, the pattern of expanding and contracting weakens the road or pavement so much that the concrete cracks and unsightly potholes form. They are then made even bigger as the weight of heavy vehicles pass over them, weakening and breaking down the surface even more.

The story doesn’t end there. As temperatures drop low enough for groundwater to freeze, so ice, frost and snow settle on the roads and pavements. This makes them slippery and dangerous for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike. Measures are then taken to melt the ice away and so restore a safer surface.

Problems really start when corrosive rock salt is used for this purpose. The chemicals inside it lower the temperature at which the water freezes, thus creating an accelerated freeze-thaw cycle that allows further damage to happen.

How to prevent potholes

Knowing how do potholes form on dirt roads can help to reduce their impact. It is key to spot potholes in the roadsthem early on, so regular street inspections are crucial. Any potholes that are discovered, however large or small they may be, should be reported straight away to the council, who can then arrange their repair.

If the cracks in a developing pothole can be sealed while they are still small and not able to let vast quantities of water in, this can help to mitigate the potential damage caused to the affected roadway. Materials commonly used to repair forming potholes include thermoplastics and cold plastic infill. These prevent water ingress and strengthen the road, adding to its useful lifespan and removing the need for expensive extensive repairs.

Another way is to stop using corrosive rock salt to grit icy roads. The good news is that there are several alternatives that are not as toxic as rock salt and that offer an

excellent solution without harming any surfaces or surrounding wildlife, people or vehicles. Naturally derived de-icing solutions such as EcoGrit Concentrate can make a huge difference to the state of any roads that are treated and lasts up to seven days. It can be safely left to wash away without harming any local water sources or delicate ecosystems beneath the soil.

Then, a longer-term solution could also include measures to reduce the traffic that use the roads. Introducing cycling schemes and incentives for car sharing, for example, could help to cut down on the number of vehicles that actually pass over compromised parts of the road.

Finally, improving water drainage systems can also help matters, as it gives melting water somewhere to run off to without pooling underneath the surface, ready to crack it and create potholes when temperatures move back below freezing. This can also stop water getting trapped on the roads’ surfaces, which can be hazardous for vehicles travelling by that could be at risk of skidding out of control.

Does rain cause potholes?

Talking of water, in a country that sees a great deal of rain, it could be considered that rain makes potholes worse. Rain certainly doesn’t help; however, the real threat is from the freeze-thaw effect underground that commonly happens in colder seasons.

The best way to keep out the rain is to repair cracks and forming potholes when they are discovered, and protecting the road surface by refraining from using rock salt and opting for an environmentally friendly, organic alternative de-icer, such as EgoGrit Concentrate.

Looking for a safer way to de-ice icy surfaces?

Of course, one of the most effective ways to combat the menace that is the rise of pothole formations across the UK and Republic of Ireland is to stop them from forming in the first place – as best as you can.

Only using chemically gentle de-icing products to treat icy surfaces is a highly effective way to protect vulnerable surfaces, such as concrete and asphalt. For more details about the many benefits of EcoGrit Concentrate, speak to an expert at EcoGrit today

Why rock salt is bad news for the road network

When the ice and snow roll into town, the first thing that many organisations reach for is the rock salt. It is known for its easy availability, low cost and ability to melt frozen surfaces to make them safer to walk or drive on in sub-zero temperatures. This approach, however, can lead to a great deal of damage and disruption further down the line and really should be avoided. The chemicals contained in rock salt, otherwise known as sodium chloride, can damage concrete, asphalt and other surfaces severely if used repeatedly and over a long length of time, leading to significant financial outlay.

What happens to concrete and asphalt treated with rock salt?

Concrete is a porous material, meaning that it is covered in tiny holes that absorb water – along with the rock salt that has dissolved into it as the surface ice melts back into liquid form. Melting water expands and exerts internal pressure, causing the concrete to crack. Rock salt-infused concrete can contain increased amounts of water, making it much more likely to crack and break up. Freshly laid concrete is even more susceptible to damage as it cannot withstand the pressure as effectively while it is still settling and hardening.asphalt road with cracks

Asphalt fares slightly better, being less porous than concrete; however, any cracks or fissures already on the surface will allow rock salt and water to enter and cause the same internal damage from increased pressure on the material. It can also be affected by freeze-thaw damage, often revealed by bumps, pot holes and faded surface colour. It also becomes more brittle in lower temperatures, making it weaker overall.

The real cost of rock salt

It is estimated that around two million tonnes of rock salt are spread over the UK’s road network annually. This is done to help keep the country’s traffic moving during harsher weather, and to prevent injuries and deaths on the road from snow, frost and ice-based accidents.

It can be a tempting prospect for individuals and local authorities to go for the cheapest option for de-icing the roads. However, the actual cost of the whole operation can actually be far greater than if they had used safer alternatives, such as organic de-icers or old-fashioned ‘elbow grease’ to shift the ice and snow. Damage

to roads, bridges and other public infrastructure can cause significant delays. This can be from traffic building up behind a vehicle that has had an accident caused by a pot hole or crack and is now immobilised, awaiting the emergency services or roadside assistance, or from road closures and diversions put in place while damaged roads are repaired.

Such delays then have knock-on effects for people trying to get to business meetings, visit vulnerable family members, distribute stock to retail outlets or carry out home deliveries. Thus, threatening the wider UK economy at a time in history when it really needs to be kept as stable as possible, following the repercussions of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

Other issues to watch forcentral london roads

As well as the direct damage that rock salt causes the roads themselves, it can also prove devastating in other, associated ways. Affected areas can lose their aesthetics with increased numbers of cracks, pot holes and evidence of patched-up surface repairs. Many local authorities’ finances are already stretched dealing with urgent road repairs, with little to none left for restoring an area’s aesthetic appeal. Trees and plant life next to roads can also be put at risk, due to the rock salt entering the soil via melted ice and causing damage and harmful chemical changes to roots, water sources and wider ecosystems.

Then, there are the vehicles themselves. Rock salt that sprays up and sticks to the underside of a car, van or lorry can cause the surfaces it comes into contact with to corrode and weaken, thus adding to overall nation-wide costs with increased vehicle maintenance and repair bills. It is a good idea to wash the underside of your vehicle whenever you have been out in icy conditions to cut down on this risk of corrosion and damage.

Rock salt flying up into other modes of transport also affects motorcyclists and cyclists. They can be more susceptible to breathing in, or coming into direct contact with the rock salt and becoming unwell as a result. Breathing difficulties, skin irritation and stomach upsets can all be caused by exposure to sodium chloride. Cyclists and motorcyclists who ride through treated areas are advised to remove all outer clothing before they enter a house or building. Rock salt can cause burns to carpets, rugs and other floor coverings, so remove your boots or shoes at the door as well.

This advice also applies to pedestrians and people riding horses during icy weather. Horse riders should take extra care to ensure that the hooves and legs of their horses are wiped clean and checked regularly for any signs of irritation or injury

during winter months. Do this straight after every walk or whenever the horse has been exercised on or near surfaces that could have been treated with rock salt.

What’s the alternative?

The good news is that there is no need to stick to rock salt for de-icing icy roads and infrastructure. EcoGrit Concentrate is an organic, biodegradable and safe alternative that won’t damage surfaces or leak toxic chemicals into the ecosystem. The granules are non-corrosive, fine and highly effective, working at lower temperatures than rock salt for up to seven days. They will not harm children, pets, local plants or wildlife, making them ideal for use on any exterior surface. Additionally, because it’s soluble, it can be made into a spray to use on metal railings, drain covers and handrails.

EcoGrit Concentrate can be applied in advance of any ice appearing too, allowing you to prepare the roads for sub-zero temperatures in plenty of time. Find out more and order your supplies today at www.ecogrit.co.uk.

#SayNOtoRockSalt #SayYEStoEcoGrit #PowerToThePeople

Why you should say ‘NO’ to rock salt for de-icing

Rock salt has long been a common choice when it comes to clearing away ice and snow from outdoor surfaces, due to its affordability, availability and ease of application. However, the longer-term effects of using it are far from ideal and can outweigh any short-term benefits by a considerable margin.

Rock salt, or sodium chloride, contains strong chemicals that react with the ground and low temperatures to melt ice back into water. In so doing, it renders a slippery surface safer to walk or drive on in sub-zero temperatures. These chemicals can cause a great deal of harm, not just to the surfaces themselves, but to the people and animals walking on them, as well as the wider environment and ecosystem.

As a country, Britain has long had a right to be proud of its strong civil engineering heritage, creating road networks and structures that have lasted for decades, if not centuries. Now, rock salt is putting this all at risk with its corrosive nature. Damage caused by excessive use of rock salt can lead to unusable roads, long traffic jams, compromised vehicles and risks to the economy if people cannot get where they need to be, or are held up or put off altogether from travelling for business.

Even if applying rock salt achieves an element of short-term ice melting success on the roads, the effects don’t last for long and are ineffective during heavy snow.

There is plenty of evidence around proving that sodium chloride can seriously damage all kinds of exterior surfaces and construction materials, including concrete, stone, brick and asphalt. It can cause cracks, chips and dips in the road that turn into pot holes and larger fractures that lead to tyre punctures and damage to a vehicle’s chassis.

Rock salt can also be thrown up by moving vehicles and stuck to their underside. Over time, it weakens and corrodes the metal with which it has come into contact. Salt that has been spread on or near buildings and structures, such as bridges or steps, can also cause them serious harm if left on too long.

The wider environment

Quite apart from damaging surfaces, rock salt is also highly toxic for the environment and the delicate ecosystems that surround treated pavements, roads and driveways. Unlike other, granular de-icing products, rock salt is made of larger crystals that stay on the surface for ages while working to melt the ice beneath. It is not biodegradable, and the crystals tend to be walked, brushed or swept away by the melted ice into the surrounding soil and on into the groundwater beneath.

Just as we are all being encouraged to live more responsibly and sustainably through reduced use of plastics, lower food miles and smaller carbon footprints, so too must we take care when choosing how to de-ice our exterior surfaces and take account of where products end up after they have done their job.

Once rock salt enters the groundwater, it alters the composition of the soil and can adversely affect the plants that rely on it for efficient growth. This kills them, or stunts their growth, thus reducing food and shelter options for the resident insects, birds and small animals.

Plants that have been damaged by rock salt show signs of underdevelopment, delayed budding, browning leaves and scorching. The salt can also enter nearby water sources, such as ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, thus affecting fish and other marine life. And, so it goes on, affecting and exposing the entire food chain to toxic risks.

Children and animals

It’s not just the wildlife that we must take care of and avoid exposing to rock salt. Our children and pets can be put in equal danger if we don’t take care of our actions when de-icing frosty surfaces. Pets such as cats and dogs have delicate paws that can be injured when they are overly exposed to rock salt. Taking a dog for a winter walk can end up with their paws sustaining painful burns or skin irritations after coming into contact with rock salt.

Symptoms of exposure include soreness, redness and itching. The crystals themselves are sharp too, which can break the skin’s surface and allow the chemicals to enter the bloodstream. Consequently, your pet’s blood sodium concentration could rise to dangerous levels, potentially leading to lethargy, thirst and kidney damage.

Dogs and cats tend to be fastidious when it comes to personal hygiene and will lick themselves to keep clean. It is very hard to get rock salt out of fur, as it has a habit of

sticking to whatever surface it finds itself on. Many cats, dogs and even rabbits also enjoy drinking from puddles whenever they get the chance. This all leads on to rock salt entering their digestive tract and causing stomach upsets, vomiting, drooling and thirst. A whole range of problems that could end up with your pet suffering needlessly and your wallet taking a significant hit at the vet.

Children can also become unwitting victims of rock salt exposure. Contact with rock salt can lead to soreness, redness and irritation in people of all ages, causing additional problems for children with existing skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis or dermatitis. Children frequently put their hands to their face and mouth too, raising the risk of them ingesting the salt and experiencing stomach or digestive problems as a direct result.

Finally, children love to play in the frost and snow, and will be the first to throw snowballs, make snowmen and trek snow indoors on their boots and shoes, potentially spreading rock salt all over the house and adding to the housework burden. Rock salt can burn holes in carpets and rugs if walked inside. The key here is strict adherence to washing hands, removing boots, coats and gloves at the door and working to keep rock salt out of the home and away from people’s skin and mouths as much as possible.

What’s the alternative?

The good news is that there is no need to stick to rock salt for de-icing frosty and icy surfaces. EcoGrit Concentrate is an organic, biodegradable and safe alternative that won’t damage surfaces or leak toxic chemicals into the ecosystem. The granules are non-corrosive, fine and highly effective, working at lower temperatures than rock salt for up to seven days. They will not harm children, pets, local plants or wildlife, making them ideal for use on any exterior surface. Additionally, because it’s soluble, it can be made into a spray to use on metal climbing frames, drain covers and handrails.

EcoGrit Concentrate can be applied in advance of any ice appearing too, allowing you to prepare for sub-zero temperatures in plenty of time. Find out more and order your supplies today at www.ecogrit.co.uk.

#SayNOtoRockSalt #SayYEStoEcoGrit #PowerToThePeople

Pet-friendly ice melts

Much has been written about the dangers of deicing products containing salt and other, harmful chemicals to dogs, cats and other domestic pets and wildlife. Rocksalt and other forms of salt can be very harmful to pets if they ingest it through licking a treated surface directly, or if any salt makes its way into their food or water bowl via ice melts containing dangerous ingredients.

Why pets can be at risk from some ice meltsdog_playing_in_the_snow

Ingesting too much salt can be incredibly harmful to a cat or dog. Too much salt entering the body can cause blood sodium concentration to increase to a dangerous level, which damages the kidney and causes excessive thirst and lethargy.

Salt can be absorbed through skin and paws too, making it even riskier to use rock salt as a deicer in areas where dogs can reasonably be expected to walk. Additionally, some deicers are based on urea, or urea-derived ingredients, which are also toxic to pets coming into contact with them. Urea ingestion can lead to excessive salivating and irritation to the gastrointestinal tract.

Additionally, the combination of salt and melting ice can cause a heat reaction, meaning that a surface can become hot and uncomfortable to walk on with ‘bare paws’. As a contrary, as it sounds, the simple act of deicing a pavement with rock salt can cause burns to a pet’s delicate paws.

If a dog or cat’s paws feel painful for uncomfortable, they are more likely to lick them for some relief, which in turn transfers the offending products onto their lips, mouth and tongue and on into their digestive system, affecting the bloodstream and internal organs.

What makes a pet-friendly ice melt safe?

Given these risks, it is clear that great care must be taken when choosing a deicing product to use this winter. It is prudent for owners to check the labels of any commercially available products before buying them as they may still contain rock salt, but lesser quantities of it with rounded edges for a softer impact.

Nevertheless, the salt remains a risk, so look for products stating that they do not contain any rock salt or urea whatsoever. Urea can also be known as carbonyl diamide or carbamide resin and is also used in many fertilizers as a source of nitrogen. Excess levels caused by ingesting urea, or absorbing it through the skin, can lead to blood and kidney problems in cats and dogs.

what ingredients make ice melt harmful for pets?

Other chemicals to steer clear of include chlorides, which can cause internal irritation and kidney problems in pets, calcium salts, which can lead to diarrhoea and skin complaints and glycols, which are also a key ingredient of antifreeze and can be deadly to pets if eaten.

The aspects that make an ice melt safe for pets and concrete, therefore, include a lack of salts, urea, chlorides and other harmful chemicals. The safest preventative solutions are those derived naturally from organic sources that do not work against your cats’ and dogs’ internal systems, nor cause them irritation when they come into close contact.

Some examples include sand, grit, gravel and cat litter, which all offer excellent traction but do not speed up ice melting. For the latter, there are specialist, pet-safe ice melter products on the market that are aimed at pet owners and that clear icy surfaces quickly and efficiently without causing any harm to concrete or other surfaces, while posing no risk to animals or plant life.

Keep your pets safe this winter

Despite the urge to rush out and get rid of the ice and snow that could cause you and your pets to slip or injure yourselves this winter, there are many alternative ways you can employ to keep your dogs and cats safe during an icy snap.

If your pet is amenable, there are several types of winter-friendly boots, feet and leg coverings available to protect their feet and prevent contact with jagged ice particles or toxic ice melt products. If you choose this option, make sure the soles have an adequate grip to ensure your pet doesn’t go flying off on slippery surfaces. Go for waterproof boots or foot coverings too, to help keep their feet warm and dry.

Keeping your pup warm all over is also important, so you may wish to invest in a suitable coat to help him or her stay cosy when out for a winter walk. Check on your dog’s condition regularly during the walk and stop if you see signs of distress, such as shivering, lethargy, pulling at the leash or general whining or upset.

Learn your pup’s limits and stick to them, especially if they are elderly, pregnant or need aid while recovering from an injury or illness. Keep your dog on the leash if there is any danger of him or her dashing across an icy road or path, as cyclists and drivers will be less able to suddenly stop in icy conditions or when passing through snow, frost or water.

After a walk, wipe your pet’s paws to remove any salt or ice melter products they may have inadvertently picked up along the way. At the same time, check for scratches, cuts and other signs of injury or toxicity caused by walking on rough ice or from any slips or falls. Always provide somewhere warm and protected for your pup to rest and sleep in the winter that is large enough for them to move about comfortably in, but draught-free and cosy enough to aid them in conserving body heat.

Best Pet-friendly Ice melt products

Check out our range of pet-friendly and safe deicers3 1.2kg handheld ice melt shakers

EcoGrit’s range of ice melts and associated products, including shakers, spreaders and larger tubs for wider areas are organic, naturally-sourced and free from harmful chemicals that cause toxicity, including rock salt and urea. They are pet-friendly ice melts and readily available online, along with further information about keeping yourself, your loved ones and your four-legged friends safe this winter.

 

 

Check out the range of Ice melt products Ecogrit has on offer:

Are you a Scraper or De-icer?

Now you don’t need to be either.

The Problem

Deicers used to all be in aerosol cans but nowadays they are in cheap plastic throwaway bottles. They are easy to open and are poorly labelled. The contents of all these deicers are toxic to both humans and animals and yet are made to taste sweet and nice to look at, (they are generally blue or yellow coloured liquids).

Once in use, deicers are often kept in the car where children have access. When they are used to clear the ice from car windows, the slushy toxic remnants end up on driveways, roads and in car parks where it is a danger for pets and wildlife.

When you add up the volume of deicer used over a winter period by motorists it must be a staggering amount of toxic chemicals getting washed away into our groundwater. Industries use deicer on yet another level again.

The Solution

EcoGrit Concentrate has been designed to be used as a straight replacement for deicing and rock salts but its best quality is that it can be made into a solution very simply. This solution is then a non-toxic, non-corrosive and environmentally friendly deicer that can be sprayed. It is an anti-icer as well as a deicer which means wherever you spray, ice cannot form. Also inturn helps with potholes not forming.

Motorists can use it so they would never have to scrape ice off windows again and if you forgot to put it on the night before, you can still use it as a deicer (although it will always be most effective to use it before the onset of ice).

This product can be adapted for use in many industries like rail, roads, facility management and food manufacturers, as it is safe to use anywhere and everywhere. It would be able to be sprayed directly onto roads making it safer to apply when motorists are about. This product ticks all the boxes and more that are required by the rail and road industries and if adopted on a national scale there is no damage to the environment as the product is biodegradable.

Mix in 100g of EcoGrit Concentrate for every litre of cold water.

spray rate about 100 mls/m2

Safe Storage

This product is safe to store in both granular and liquid form. In granular form, it is kept in the dry and in liquid form in a closed container. Neither form carries any danger so are not included in COSHH reports. There is no training needed in the handling of this deicing solution. It is even non-harmful if ingested.

 

Check out the range of Ice melt products Ecogrit has on offer:

school shut down due to snow

Why do schools close when it snows and others stay open?

I would like to introduce my company, EcoGrit and the product we have to offer, EcoGrit Concentrate. We are able to keep schools and businesses open safely throughout the winter months without doing damage to the grounds or building, a risk to the children (rock salt) or bringing mess inside the school.

Weather patterns are changing and we need to change our practices along with them. We as a country have made some bold commitments in reducing CO2 output and what that means is that our winters are going to get colder (worse). Conventional gritting methods and products only work to -6C whereas at this point deicing and rock salt freeze along with the ground making it dangerous.

Our product EcoGrit Concentrate works safely to -20C and is non-corrosive, unlike rock salts which destroy everything they come into contact with (potholes in roads & car parks, the environment, wildlife, plants etc). EcoGrit Concentrate has no restrictions (COSHH), in handling and storing. It can be used in the most delicate of environments and is even non-harmful if ingested, although we don’t recommend eating it.

EcoGrit Concentrate has been specifically designed for the coming weather changes and to tick all the right boxes.

  • Biodegradable and environmentally friendly even in large amounts.
  • Plant and garden-friendly, so it won’t damage your playing fields
  • Non-corrosive, it won’t damage your car park, walkways or playgrounds and can be used around pets
  • Natural rust inhibitor so no metalwork is damaged over the winter in fact metal that comes in contact with EGC is actually protected from the elements.
  • Works to -20C meaning that it can’t re-freeze so it doesn’t need putting down daily saving you time, effort and money.
  • It is a concentrate so less product is needed compared to deicing & rock salts.
  • It is granular, it breaks down so fine that mess can’t be walked into buildings saving cleaners a lot of time and effort.
  • Great Rock salt alternative
  • It is soluble so it can be mixed with water to create a spray that can be used anywhere that you don’t want freezing up.

We supply it in either a 5kg bucket, with each containing a scoop for application (coverage 350m2) and these can be bought in any amount (up to 100 on a pallet) delivered or we supply loose in a 1-tonne bag that closes. We recommend this so that then the teachers would be able to keep some in their vehicles in a container to be used at home, just to make sure their car doesn’t get iced in and they can make it into work.

Whatever product isn’t used one winter, will safely store in the dry from year to year. We also allow schools to purchase at the end of winter (March) to help balance their budgets. We can hold the stock for them until they are ready to receive it the following winter.

The product can be purchased directly from our website, just set up an account for your school. You can also connect with me via LinkedIn with any questions and we have the usual media channels of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Times are changing and we need to adapt. EcoGrit Concentrate will help people to do that without too many problems. For any further information please don’t hesitate to contact. Our safety data sheet is available on our website. https://www.ecogrit.co.uk/

We look forward to helping you keep your school open and your pupils & staff safe.

 

Check out the range of Ice melt products Ecogrit has on offer:

What will our future look like?

UK becomes the first major economy to pass net-zero emissions law

 

The aim: to help stop Global Warming.

The problem: our country becomes colder in the winter.

 We can barely cope now when the ice and snow arrive even in short spells. We have never created a proper product to help in these situations as they didn’t arise so often. We had been more than happy to use rock salt as it works down to -6C, is easily available and cheap. We have always overlooked the fact that this product is not only damaging to our environment and super corrosive to anything it contacts because we didn’t use it that often in the past. 

Times are changing and we need to change with them. 

 

At present

Areas, where rock salt is used most, is quite evident. Potholes are in abundance and the whole road surface is starting to fall apart. The government recognises and accepts an overall deterioration of 3% annually to our roads. At this rate, we don’t have the manpower to fix the entire network of existing potholes in a 12 month period. We have the technology now which the government passed in 2019, thermal road repairing. Even if we fixed all the potholes permanently (trying to fix all the potholes in a 12 month period would cause massive delays to commuters and traffic), we would still have a problem with the deterioration of the road surface. 

Round the corner

As we push to reduce our CO2 emissions, the winters will get harsher. If we continue to throw more rock salt at the problem then we WILL accelerate the deterioration of our roads and infrastructure. With ever-increasing vehicles, our road network will struggle to cope and roads would crumble more quickly. 

 An option on the market at the moment is urea. Many products claiming to be pet-friendly and environment-friendly are just 100% urea. This product hasn’t been designed for this purpose and if used on a large scale will cause us an environmental nightmare (toxic algae blooms).

 

 EcoGrit Concentrate can be our saving grace if we get behind it. It has been designed to tackle all of the issues, tick the right boxes and has the ability to be used by the whole country without causing us any environmental problems. Imagine it, roads without constant potholes.

 

At our homes

In many areas around the country, people are being forced to use deicing and rock salt to keep their driveways and paths clear. This isn’t an ideal solution because of the risk it poses to pets, garden and home. We don’t want to destroy our own property just so we can access it but that is what’s happening. As the temperature changes, it is going to become a problem for more and more people. The more we have to use rock salt then the quicker we deteriorate our homes. People in hilly areas or homes that have driveways on a slope, need to keep these areas ice-free to allow access in and out of the property as well as to prevent vehicles from sliding when they are parked.

 As temperatures drop this is going to be a growing problem as we go forward, as many people have vehicles under contracts where they swap vehicles every couple of years. When you swap you often have to pay for any damage to the vehicle, which can be costly. If your vehicle slides overnight and causes damage to itself or others then it is you footing the bill.