Because slipping and sliding their way to the car is not most people's idea of a good start to the morning, many homeowners drop a little rock salt on their walkways to provide some much-needed traction.
At $5 for a 50-pound bag, you get a lot of ice-melt for your buck.
But regular rock salt has ecological issues. It is known to corrode vehicles and pavement, damage vegetation and marine life and even hurt your puppy's paws.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, contamination fears have been raised because of road salt runoff.
Luckily there are several eco-friendly alternatives that can keep you on sure footing and help the environment.
Magic Salt: Magic Salt is rock salt treated with magnesium chloride and a sugar byproduct. It has received the EPA Design for the Environment label, which recognizes that the product is considered to be safe for the environment. It's the only de-icer to get the approval.
Magic Salt is 70 percent less corrosive than rock salt and works to 35 degrees below zero. At $9 for a 50-pound bag, it is more expensive than rock salt, but it is far more effective so a savvy salter can use up to 40 percent less.
Ice-Clear: Ice-Clear is a liquid that you spray right on the pavement and is best used before the storm. It is made of a corn extract so the sugar reacts with the pavement to form a bond that prevents ice from sticking to the surface. Similar technology is used to de-ice airplane wings.
Ice-Clear is 100 percent organic and noncorrosive, biodegrades readily and contains no toxic materials or corrosive salts. It will not harm any trees, shrubs or lawns and works to 50 below zero.
Ice Melt: For pet owners, Ice Melt by Earth Friendly Products is the animal friendly salt. It costs about $10 for an 8-pound container and works in temperatures far below the freezing point.