Invented by a Canadian company, EcoTraction is made of non-toxic, all-natural volcanic rock. According to the Earth Innovations website, the granules embed into ice and snow, creating a solid, non-slip surface. Founder Mark Watson developed the product after his dog died of cancer, which may be triggered by toxins in road salt.
Salt can be washed into the environment, but there are other options. EcoTraction, for example, is a natural volcanic mineral you spread over the ice, preventing slips. It is safe to the touch and safe for pets, as well as the environment
Parents Approved Parents Tested (PTPA) Award Winning EcoTraction was featured on this Chicago morning TV show on Earth Day April 22, 2013. EcoTraction has been used by the City of Chicago parks as an alternative to ice melters since 2009 and is the only product of its kind that can be swept into lawns to benefit growth.
Corrosion by Water, Road Salt Key in Elliott Lake (Ontario) Mall Collapse:
…The Norr report — a forensic study commissioned by the OPP as part of its continuing investigation into the mall collapse — cited severe rusting in the structure's steel supports from years of exposure to water and road salt. Steel supports were so rusted... that it looked as if they had spentdecades in sea water, the Norr report said.
Eco-friendly company reminds Canadians to be advised of slippery walkways: "Whether hosting or attending an event this winter, it's very risky without the appropriate non-toxic solution for traction over ice and snow on walkways and driveways," said Mark Watson, CEO of Earth Innovations, which provides a granule-based solution that is similar to sand or salt but is harmless to plants and animals.
NHL's Calgary Flames using EcoTraction for Saddledome. "EcoTraction offers instant traction on icy surfaces and is perfect for protecting our fans from slips and falls when walking into the Scotiabank Saddledome. Because it works fast for immediate safety and won't harm concrete, footwear, or greenery, we're very pleased with EcoTraction," said Rob Blanchard, Director of Operations for the Calgary Flames.
Road salt poses a major risk not only to pets, but also humans, municipal
infrastructure, vehicles and the environment. The United States and
Canada use a combined 40 million tons of road salt a year, resulting in
nearly $40-billion worth of damages to infrastructure each year.
We're thrilled that EcoTraction has over-
whelmingly won the esteemed "Innovation of the Future" 2012 award
at the Infrastructure & Municipal Technology trade show in Sweden.
EcoTraction was chosen by two-thirds
of the judges over 39 other entries.
Today, Earth Innovations officially launched EcoCompo, an affordable
household product that conveniently allows homeowners to reduce
their carbon footprint year round, while eliminating the odor emitted
from food waste.
Canadian cities use an enormous amount of salt and gravel to keep their roads and highways ice-free. This salt damages infrastructure, eventually seeping into the ground and water systems, where it causes harmful, expensive, toxic after-effects. EcoTraction is a pollution-free alternative developed by Canadian entrepreneurs. It bonds to ice, increasing traction, and blows away as dust when the ice is gone. It's been featured on the popular CBC television program Dragon's Den.
The City of Ottawa has agreed to a trial run of an environmentally friendly salt substitute [EcoTraction] on sidewalks along the Rideau Canal... The decision is pending legal clearance and approval from the NCC, says Mark Watson, co-founder of Earth Innovations.
Last fall, I was at a trade show, and there was a company from Canada that had a new product called EcoTraction... You only need to use a small amount. One cup of the EcoTraction will cover a 12-foot by 12-foot area. It is safe for pets and will benefit the lawn if any gets on there. I have been amazed at how well it works.
The Green Page: We're hooked on salt In Ottawa, a trial of a product billed as more environmentally friendly than road salt is in the works, said EcoTraction founder Mark Watson... "It's completely safe for lakes and for rivers and for trees," Watson said.
Radio Canada is the French version of CBC TV in the city of Ottawa, Canada. They report on what now appears to be a possible EcoTraction trial based on interviews by City of Ottawa Councillors Bob Monette and Eli El-Chantiry who both sound open to have the city try the eco-friendly product. The product has been successfully used by the City of Chicago for the past 3 winters, amongst other municipalities, by corporations who are going green, and by tens of thousands of consumers.
Co-founder of EcoTraction Mark Watson had been working with city staff to set up a trial. He lined up $300,000 in funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities for a pilot project, but the city was still resistant. With approval from the National Capital Commission, the trial would have lined the pathways along the Rideau Canal with EcoTraction.
City of Ottawa Councillor David Chernushenko is interviewed by CBC TV and
says he'd like to see an independent evaluation of EcoTraction, a product
manufactured and distributed by an Ottawa company called Earth Innovations Inc. He says: "We can make an evaluation on: 'A' does it
work; 'B' how much does it cost; 'C' is it available in the quantities
that we need. We can then make a decision on it."
CBC radio reports that the city of Ottawa won't give EcoTraction a
chance. EcoTraction is the green volcanic mineral used instead of salt
and ice melters that so impressed the billionaires on CBC Dragons' Den
and lead to a big money deal. Founder Mark Watson says that he's been
trying to get the city of Ottawa to do a formal trial of his product for
5 years but that so far he's encountered a lot of resistance.
Radio Kathleen Petty interviews EcoTraction founder Mark Watson about
the city of Ottawa and his frustration about the delays in doing a pilot
test. Watson says EcoTraction has been successfully tested by the City
of Chicago who is using it, and other municipalities in Canada such as
the City of Charlottetown, PE. He is hoping that Ottawa's new City
Council will help moving things forward with a trial this winter.
EcoTraction, a salt alternative featured on CBC Television’s Dragons’
Den, is a popular product option often used on icy walkways. Co-founder
Mark Watson says that if more attention was paid to the life-cycle
impacts of road clearing practices, road operators would be more likely
to consider products such as his—a volcanic mineral that provides better
friction than sand, with less weight and less potential to clog stream
beds or damage green spaces. Sand is used by most road operators for
road traction, especially when temperatures drop below road salt’s
window of effect.
"EcoTraction is the ideal alternative for eco-sensitive areas where
there are immediate concerns to health from salt use. Sidewalks or
secondary roadways in around parks, bodies of water or near LEED
certified buildings and historic structures such as the Rideau Canal or
the [Canadian] Parliament Buildings would be a great place to start".
What's the most environmentally friendly way to clear snow?
...Conventional salt and ice melters can hurt plants, leach harmful
chemical residues into the water supply and harm pets. Many companies
have come out with more animal- and eco-friendly alternatives, which
include EcoTraction, made with volcanic minerals...
Irish Wire Products is distributing EcoTraction, an alternative to grit,
salt and sand, in co-op and hardware stores and nationwide. The
compound is a green-coloured volcanic mineral that is "completely safe
to touch or accidentally ingest by children, pets, and wildlife... Ice
melters are toxic substances and it is essential that potential after
effects are considered especially when used around eco-sensitive areas.
March 10, 2010 - CBC Dragons’ Den Season 6 and SunChips Greenvention
Keynote speech by Toronto Mayor David Miller (Canada) who said, ‘the city of Toronto would be a great place to use it...’
They tried this environmentlally friendly
product as an alternative to
deicing salt and sand during
their Feb. 2009 annual
winter carnival and found
that it worked better than
sand and prevented the
problems they normally face
with sand and salt. The village received a lot
of positive feedback from staff and visitors, with
zero slips and falls incident reported. They also didn't face the need for
clean up in the spring required when using sand.
Here at the Green-Up office we use a product called EcoTraction that is
derived from volcanic minerals. The company claims it has zero impact on
the environment and will eventually turn into dust after enough
EcoTraction is in more than 4,000 stores including national chains such as
Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, Home Depot, Metro grocery stores, Shoppers
Drug Mart, and Wholefoods… It's the third arm of their business -- contracts
with municipalities -- that they're working on now.
While cities are looking for effective alternatives to salt, and putting
themselves on a salt diet, homeowners can do a few things to
help....EcoTraction provides good grip underfoot, as an alternate to sand.
The City of Charlottetown is cutting back on its use of road salt this year and
switching to a more environmentally friendly way to keep people from slipping
on the ice at Victoria Park… The product, called EcoTraction, won't melt the
ice like salt does, but the green granules of volcanic rock will stick to the ice
and provide traction, Hendricken said.
"The product doesn't melt snow and ice -- the granules of volcanic rock simply
sink into the ice, embedding themselves to create a pebbly sandpaper surface
with plenty of traction. EcoTraction doesn't corrode cars, damage lawns and
gardens or cause costly repairs to roads and bridges. It's an effective, non-toxic,
non-polluting alternative to the chemical- laden crystals we scatter on the
driveway every winter. "
"On Wednesday November 11th at 8pm, EcoTraction will again be featured on
the top rated CBC Dragons' Den TV show where viewers will have the
opportunity to see how this green product has experienced unprecedented
growth despite the tough economic conditions."
“When he [Brett Wilson, Earth Innovations Director] was finished, the audience
immediately came to its feet. With all due respect to the other speakers of the
day, it appeared to me that Mr. Wilson was the only one who received a genuine
standing ovation from the crowd. Indeed, it seemed the audience responded to
his extreme humility and humanity. His overt emotional reactions to the pains of
his own story struck a chord with the audience.”
“Although Trump was the main attraction, it was Brett Wilson who stole the
audience’s hearts… He received a long, standing ovation after he finished his
talk... Wilson has invested in a couple of Ottawa companies. One, called
EcoTraction, presented its road salt alternative on Dragon’s Den, a venture-
capitalist TV show on which Wilson is a panelist, and got backing from all five of
"The village [Saranac Lake] has received a one-ton donation of EcoTraction from the Canadian company that produces it… the ground it [ice palace] sits on will be getting the green treatment to keep palace visitors from slipping."
"A Canadian company announced today that it is establishing a program to help American cities cope with the high financial and environmental cost of road salt.
...The first gift of 'EcoTraction', a product manufactured in America, was accepted by the Mayor's Office of the City of Chicago."