Developed in Switzerland
Known as StopGlissBio™ in Europe, the non-slip traction chips were developed and perfected in the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland.
Bearing a new name, EcoIceGrip is now produced in North America and available in truckload, bulk bag, and retail formats. We are growing and continually expanding to service new areas. We welcome your call.
The penguin symbolizes community, adaptability and renewal. Ultimately, our goals are the same.
Harmony Through Innovation
Joseph Mucaria was the director of public works for the historic town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, and he had a problem. La Chaux-de-Fonds is a picturesque and historic town in the Jura Mountains at the foot of the Swiss Alps. It is the watch-making capital of Switzerland. The citizens of Chaux-de-Fonds are proud of their city and protective of the pristine mountain environment.
Winter in La Chaux-de-Fonds is beautiful but can be treacherous for pedestrians and vehicles alike due to icy conditions made especially difficult by the towns many hills and slopes.
Mucaria was responsible for ensuring safe travel in winter conditions. As in North America, road-salt was the default “go to” for this purpose. However, there was growing awareness of the harm related to salt use. Damage to historic buildings and municipal infrastructure as well as concerns for the contamination of the surrounding environment, especially fresh water, needed to be addressed. In addition, road salt was newly registered as a toxic substance resulting in new regulations to address. Regulatory compliance costs for storage, application and disposal became a high priority. Ensuring an ecologically and economically sound alternative, without compromising citizen safety, meant a new approach was needed.
Mucaria and his team determined the underlying issue was TRACTION. Trying to eliminate snow and ice to get to the original surface for safe traction drove the use of salt or other chemical ice-melters. Considering the continually changing winter conditions and the increasing frequency of freeze-thaw-freeze cycles, the only option was to wage battle by putting more and more salt. They knew they needed to considered how they could achieve traction by another means. Finding a natural, non-toxic material that would be effective on top of the ice and snow as a a safe traction surface was the answer. Such was the birth of the idea and the beginning of StopGlissBio™ or as we know it in North America, EcoIceGrip™.
After several years of development and testing, a product was eventually defined: a light-weight, dimensionally select softwood chip, pre-conditioned, and impregnated with a pH-neutral brine. The brine enables the product to flow freely in sub-zero temperatures for easy spreading. It also added to the hydroscopic nature of the cellulose. The attracted moisture freezes, locking the chip in place. The chip then settles and embeds in place for the duration of the season (some are lost when new snowfall is removed, but many remain in place and effective. The chips are comfortable underfoot. If the snow or ice thaws naturally, when it refreezes, most of the buoyant chips will remain on the surface, and minimal, if any, replenishment is required. Unlike salt or ice-melters, it does not create slush.
It was a remarkably simple idea thoroughly proven in Switzerland and other European cities.
Recognizing the growing pressure in US and Canada to reduce road salt and other ice-melt alternatives, EMC3 Technologies Inc. founder André Prévost acquired the patent license to develop the North American market for StopGlissBio (EcoIceGrip). Now retired, Prévost has handed off the operations to EMC3 owners Jim MacKenzie and Greg Maloney, who combine experience in snow-clearing and property care with expertise in commercialization of sustainable biomaterials.
EcoIceGrip has been deployed and tested extensively against Canadian winters. The product has been further refined and improved. Field trials with environmentally minded municipalities such as the town of Rosemère, Drummondville, and the City of Montreal have proven successful and application areas are expanding. Popular home-improvement radio show host Jon Eakes uses and endorses the product.
Our production capacity has also grown: in December 2020, the first commercial-scale facility was commissioned in Quebec.
In keeping with the environmental promise of this clean-tech product, the wood chips are obtained from residuals of FSC-certified forestry operations. In the Spring, the product can be simply swept or blow to adjacent property to decompose as a soil amendment, or remaining product is lightweight and can be easily gathered for use as garden mulch or compost.
We are excited about our recent consumer product launched in a 20-L bag format and featuring our new brand identity. Our penguin logo is perfect for our brand promise of being community minded and working in harmony with nature. Our hope is to see the EcoIceGrip penguin at homes, parks and towns across North America!
(We admit that the plastic bag packaging is not ideal, but for now, it serves the purpose of containing and protecting a moist product. It is comprised of 10% recycled plastics and is fully recyclable. We are working on some novel reduced-packaging concepts, so stay tuned!).
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!