ROSEMERE, Quebec - A small town in Quebec has swapped out salt for environmentally-friendly woodchips for use on icy roads.
"All this salt and all those materials end up in the river," town mayor Eric Westram told CBC news. "So if you want to be conscientious of the environment, you have to look at other alternatives."
The process of making and spreading the wood chips, which are coated with magnesium chloride — allowing the chips to better adhere to snow and ice — was brought to Rosemere from Switzerland by the town's public works manager who thought the process something worth trying, says Westram.
The wood chips disappear on their own, and can also help vehicles maintain their traction in -30-degree temperatures. Road salt, by comparison, loses its effectiveness at -15.
If the project is successful, Westram says Rosemere will use more chips on the streets, despite a slightly higher cost.
"But even if it [wood chips] costs slightly higher, the benefits of it are so interesting," Westram says. "And again, the maintenance of the machinery...you have to look at those costs, too."
"Wood is as natural as it comes," Westram told CBC. "This is definitely the thing of the future."