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Yes, you read that right. Canadian provinces and cities like Manitoba and Halifax have created a new way to prevent slippery and icy conditions on the roads and sidewalks. Beet juice is better for the environment and it will save money in the long run as it will eliminate the need to clean up the salt in the spring.

Here’s an excerpt from CBC:

“It’s got a slight odour to it, it’s non-staining, but it looks like coffee, smells like molasses,” said Jeff Friesen, operations manager at Unger Excavating, the contractor spreading the product in La Broquerie.”

“The concoction is comprised of 60 per cent beet juice, 30 per cent water and 10 per cent salt. Once the de-icing truck applies the solution to the road via two “spray bars,” the rust-coloured mixture spreads across the surface of the road and dries.”

The benefits of beet juice outweigh that of road salt tenfold since it causes no damage to the surfaces, sticks a lot longer than salt, non-corrosive, and requires no clean up in the spring. Another key advantage is beet juice only freeze at -20 (28.9 F) while salt can only hold up to 5 degrees (41 F) – this is a huge benefit.

Another alternative is cheese brine, used in various cities in the US. It works similarly to beet juice and sometimes can be acquired for free as dairy farmers try to offload the liquid quickly. The downside is the smell and the fact that it could cause long term environmental damage when passed on the rivers and lakes.

So, next time you smell something sweet in the air on a cold day – it’s not the local bakery – its actually the coffee stained roads. What do you think?

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