The Last Word In Business

Feb 20, 2014
Originally published on February 20, 2014 7:38 am
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And our last word in business: Salternative.

As this brutal winter marches on, cities are looking for ways to stretch their supplies of road salt.

MIKE OSSIAN: I've heard of pickle brine being used, cheese curd being used.


That's Mike Ossian, director of operations at Ossian, Incorporated, in Davenport, Iowa. His company combines beet juice with rock salt. Perfectly good use for beats as far as I'm concerned. Beet juice and rock salt combined to keep it from scattering as it comes off the back of the truck.

OSSIAN: By coating it with a sticky agent, it reduces that bounce, so it puts the salt where they need it.

MONTAGNE: That means less salt on the street.

INSKEEP: Less salt in the slush.

MONTAGNE: Less salt on your car.

INSKEEP: But not everybody is sold on the power of beet juice.

GHASSAN CORBAN: We have used beet juice in the past. It was a little problematic for us. It mucked up the process so we just stopped using it.

INSKEEP: Mucked up the process, he said. That's Ghassan Corban, public works commissioner in Milwaukee, who said he found a better solution for his city.

CORBAN: We're using cheese brine.

MONTAGNE: Yes, cheese brine. If you don't fancy cheese or beets, consider what the town of Ankeny, Iowa, did. Assistant city manager Paul Moritz tapped a spice warehouse with an oversupply of garlic salt.

PAUL MORITZ: It didn't perform better or worse than our standard salt, but it did make part of the town smell like garlic bread, would be the best way to put it.


INSKEEP: You like dip your bread.

MONTAGNE: In the salt. In the - not the salt. Yeah, it is garlic salt.

INSKEEP: No idea how long it takes to get the smell off your tires. No idea. Anyway, that's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.