The Ever-present Grit Bin
Grit Bins or salt bins are containers that are often used in countries that commonly experience snowfall and freezing temperatures. These sturdy containers are used to hold salt and grit mixture which are used on snow covered and unsafe sidewalks and roadways.
There are two things that happen once the mixture from the grit bins are spread on a snow covered ground. First, low temperature that will lower the melting point of the snow is applied by the salt portion of the mixture, turning ice into liquid. This is made possible thanks to a chemical process which involves sodium chloride absorbing ambient heat and therefore allowing the sun to melt the ice. The grit in the mixture will then provide the physical change as it provides traction in the slippery surface. Pebbles, sand, and woodchips are usually the components used on grit and the ones which provide the traction to prevent the non slipping of tires and people travelling on the slippery roads.
This process is a much better option as compared to having trucks and bulldozers clearing snow off the road or shoveling snow from the pathways. Besides from being expensive, snow trucks also require high maintenance as well. Alternatively, Grit Bin are easy to manage and are affordable as well. Driving can be very risky on snow covered roads as it often leads to the wheels spinning out of control and leading to accidents. When sidewalks are covered with snow, passersby have a huge chance of slipping and have injuries because of the slippery walkways.
Grit bins, however, are only the containers which hold the salt and grit mixture. As for the salt-grit mixture, it is the responsibility of the local council to supply it during their delivery runs. The next problem is the issue about the spreading of mixture on the roadways and sidewalks. The local council can do the grit spreading service on their own or they can also request the local townsfolk to help. This would mean that communities would need to provide shift assignments as to the shoveling and spreading of the salt-grit mixture in their communities.
Concrete and stone were the first materials used for grit bins but they proved ineffective because they became easily brittle and lost their effectivity in a short period of time. This is the reason why the later designs of grit bins were made of polyurethane plastic. Much like their predecessors, these containers are still not prone to destruction and damage but not because of the weather but the people who vandalize them. There are also problems about leaving the lid of this bin open which renders the mixture useless because of the sun and rain and tipping it over leading to the spilling of its contents carelessly on the floor.
These information prove that Grit Bins play a huge role in communities that often experience extreme weather conditions. They are containers that store the salt-grit mixture which keep our roads and sidewalks safe.