We’ve been developing a theme throughout our messaging lately, which calls for self-regulation through education. The notion is for an end-user of a dust control product/solution to educate themselves about their unique need, the various options they have, what the REAL and total cost implications are (the choice is between a lifetime value decision – or a short-term fix) and the environmental impacts… then you can make the most appropriate and informed decision for your circumstance.
Take a read on the Larimer article linked here. This is a great twist on Regulation by Education. They self-regulated themselves and stopped using magnesium chloride for about five years, then recently having reassessed the use of mag, they are considering beginning mag chloride use again due to low cost and effectiveness.
But there are tradeoffs – environmental issues! (Of which they are properly informed.)
Their concern is that other products are more expensive and less effective and that they do not have very many option. However while this has been true in the past it is not the case today when you think “life-cycle value” and performance. There are products that are manufactured with the intended use of dust control and gravel road stabilization – that meet very specific criteria in terms of environmental soundness and long-term, cost effective performance. Their unit price is higher than that of mag chloride and other more traditional palliatives but their cost of use can be as much as 50% less when an analysis of the life-cycle cost is calculated.
Using an environmentally sound product is being socially responsible, whether by choice or regulation, and it may require a broader perspective in order to make the decision because there is an important measure of each product’s short- and long-term performance.
While you want a product that is kind to the environment, you also want one that works! As an industry, we must further define sustainable dust suppression and gravel road stabilization products and regulate (i.e. be open to new principles or conditions that customarily govern our behavior) ourselves by better understanding what will lead to the use of the most sustainable products. This will require ongoing in-depth research and development with some demonstration roads used in the evaluation so that new products can be evaluated and prove if they can do a better job preserving natural resources such as water.
Ask the vendors you evaluate what they are doing in this area.