Ice buildup can cause all sorts of problems ranging from performance issues to catastrophic failures. For example, ice buildup can negatively impact things like airplanes, power lines, wind turbines, and the like. Preventing this ice buildup typically requires energy-intensive heating systems or environmentally-harmful chemical sprays.
We have been using salt to keep winter roads free of ice and snow since the late 1930s. In the United States alone, some 20 million tons of salt are applied to roadways each year. And while its use has real benefits in terms of safety and navigation, there have been cumulative costs to the environment, including degrading freshwater resources and contaminating groundwater.