Compass Minerals and alternatives to salt
As I've said earlier, Compass Minerals is one of my favorite boring-but-very-profitable stocks. Its main business is highway deicing salt. It seems farfetched that someone could come up with a more economical alternative to salt, but if someone did, that would kill Compass.
No such alternative product is really in the news. However, I did come across this article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about how the city is trying to minimize its salt usage. Minnesota is in a bit of a unique spot, it is very, very cold and very, very snowy, and they have to use so much salt that it leaches into the lakes and disrupts the ecosystem. Minneapolis has been experimenting to find the minimum concentration of salt that works on roads, but they still need to use a lot of salt - they've managed to cut their usage from 500lbs per mile of road to a mere 200lbs/mi. Additionally, the article mentions that Calcium Chloride and Magnesium Chloride work at lower temperatures, but are more expensive.
So, contrary to the title of the post, I think this article just serves to reinforce the fact that there are no alternatives to salt at present, unless we want to completely depopulate the Midwest.