Managing Your Excess Rock Salt: How to Capitalize on Alternative Rock Salt Uses
Rock salt, road salt, and sodium chloride; this one substance goes by many names. Whatever you call it, if you’re a snow removal company then you’re intimately familiar with the substance and its role in snow and ice removal.
However, sometimes we’re a bit too generous in our consumable inventorying at the start of the year. As the season ends and the temperature rises you may be sweating over your excess stock of salt. Do you allow it to carry over to the next year? If you have a great storage option, sure, otherwise you may risk ruining the product before the next snow arrives.
Yet, there are ways to make a buck off of your excess stock, provided you have the gumption and wherewithal to pursue a buyer. There are many alternative uses for rock salt and with that, many potential buyers. We’ll dive into those uses; it’s up to you to find the market in your region.
Rock Salt as a Water Softener
Anyone living in a region with hard water understands the value in the process of water softening. But what is hard water? To put it simply, it’s water with higher-than-normal mineral content. While this can be great for drinking (after all, we buy mineral rich water at the store) it’s not so good for your plumbing. The minerals in your water (namely, calcium and magnesium) will eventually clog your shower head, your hot water heater, and even your kitchen sink.
Halite (salt) is great at dissolving these minerals allowing them to flow freely through your pipes and into your drain. Water softening systems don’t create “Salt water.” Instead, they replace those calcium and magnesium ions with sodium, which “softens” the water. While water softeners can be take-it-or-leave-it in the home they are a necessity in industrial factories in regions with hard water.
Rock Salt as a Weed Killer
Landscaping and snow removal often go hand-in-hand. As a business owner, you usually can’t simply rest of your laurels when the last snow melts away. Instead, you break out the landscaping equipment and get working on your clients’ yards.
With that said, salt is a relatively safe weed killer when diluted sufficiently in a ratio of vinegar and salt. Not only can you use up your extra road salt in the summer months, but you can advertiser that you’re efficient, environmentally-friendly, and make your own all-natural weed killer.
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Rock Salt is Valuable in Livestock Nutrition
As humans in a first-world country, we typically get more than enough salt on an average day. However, as mammals, salt isn’t just a great way to bring out the flavor in our food, it’s a biological necessity. Livestock doesn’t have the same access to salt as we do. In the wild, they’d find it naturally at sites known as “salt licks”. And without salt, any animal is as good as dead in just a few days.
Your excess salt is the same stuff an animal would slurp up in the wild. It goes without saying that you could find yourself a natural market for your excess stock within your local farming community. At the very least it’s worth an inquiry.
Rock Salt is a Food Industry Asset
Food is an important part of our everyday lives. Good food is even more important to most of us than the nutrition we derive from it. If stored properly, rock salt is just salt. While you wouldn’t be shoveling salt from your barn and selling it to a restaurant to keep their table salt shakers full, there could be ways to sell your salt to the food industry.
For instance, ice cream is a combination of ingredients quickly frozen by the properties of ice and rock salt. Combining water and salt will alter the freezing point of the water. To put it simply, ice mixed with rock salt makes that ice much colder than it would naturally be. Use this as a catalyst to freeze cream and sugar at a rapid rate and you’ve got ice cream. While you can do this at home, the companies making ice cream to sell follow the same process but on a grander scale. That also means their demands for rock salt are high. Do you see the opportunity?
Mistakes Are Opportunities
So you ordered too much rock salt for the season. Do you let it sit around, where it could become ruined by next winter or do you own your mistake and turn it into an opportunity? Or maybe you do a little bit of both?
Whatever choice you make; the way you react to a problem is entirely up to you. You could wallow in your predicament or you could take the bull by the horns and figure out how to come out a winner. The popular adage about lemons and lemonade rings true here, but you don’t own any lemons. Instead, think of it this way. “When life gives you rock salt, make ice cream.” So when you’re sitting around with too much product, don’t be salty, be clever.