Road salt is harmful to the environment – these alternatives exist
Created: 2022-12-18, 1:45 p.m
By: Helmi Krappitz
Road salt is often used in snow and black ice.
This has consequences for the environment.
Nature conservation associations therefore recommend environmentally friendly alternatives.
Munich – In the cold months, streets and sidewalks become ice rinks.
Road salt is often used to prevent this.
But the anti-slip agent has various negative consequences.
Effective remedy: What is road salt?
Road salt is an effective means against black ice and snow in cold temperatures.
There are different variants of the spreading material.
Road salt, which consists mainly of sodium chloride, is effective at temperatures as low as minus ten degrees.
Other road salt mixtures based on calcium chloride are even effective down to minus 20 degrees, according to
In addition to the chloride base, small amounts of natural accompanying substances and artificial additives are also added.
Harmful to the environment: Road salt is problematic for people, animals and the environment
, the use of road salt in winter service is problematic and harms the environment.
The remains seep into soil and thus reach the roots of plants and trees.
The salt-damaged plants dry up despite sufficient rain.
Road salt can also threaten the ecosystems of rivers and lakes.
Because salt residues get into the sewage system and are not completely filtered out by sewage treatment plants.
This leads to an increased concentration of chloride.
This can possibly end in salinity of drinking water.
Road salt is also a problem for animals, "when salt collects between the pads of their paws and the skin reacts with inflammation," reports
Owners should clean their paws with warm water after walks and preferably choose paths that are not littered.
Many cities and municipalities only allow the municipal winter service to use road salt.
© Rainer Droese/IMAGO
Municipal regulations: exception rules for road salt
Cities and municipalities decide what is allowed to be used for spreading.
Road salt is often only permitted for municipal winter services, according to
Cities like Berlin and Munich ban the use of road salt in private households to protect the environment.
Since the grit is still offered in shops, private individuals should check the regulations of the respective city.
Violation can be expensive.
Supermarket employees speak plain language: Which sentences totally annoy us - "You hear it 100 times a day"
Recall at dm: There is a risk of diarrhea, nausea and fever - drugstore recalls organic product
Traffic sign with three white arrows and a line - that's what it means
229 euros child allowance in addition to child benefit: who can apply for the money?
“Just amazing”: Rewe-Bon shows people affected by poverty for three simple items
Fancy a voyage of discovery?
In some cities, the environmentally harmful agent may also be used in the private sphere in exceptional cases - in the case of black ice.
The corresponding regulations are also laid down at municipal level.
Eco-friendly alternatives: sand, grit and wood chips
Nature conservation associations such as NABU and BUND advocate environmentally friendly alternatives, according to
They recommend sand, grit and wood chips.
These are just deadening agents that won't melt the ice.
Nevertheless, the risk of slipping is reduced.
To be effective, about 100 grams per square meter must be spread.
Another environmentally friendly factor: after thawing, sand and co. can be swept up and reused.
Spreading materials should also be checked for the “Blue Angel” eco-label.
These products do not contain salt.
Other environmentally harmful ingredients are also avoided.
The snow shovel is still the most environmentally friendly.
If you clear snow early, you may be able to do without gritting altogether.
Obligation to vacate: Municipality, landlord and tenant responsible
Municipalities are largely responsible for clearing snow and ice.
You can transfer that to the homeowners.
The transferred obligation to clear then includes the areas in front of the front door, especially the sidewalk.
Landlords often include their tenants in the winter service.
This is regulated in the rental agreement.