Canada's Top Investors Embrace Green Alternative to Controversial Road Salt

Share Article

EcoTraction, a unique high-traction green alternative to controversial road salt and ice melters, has taken Canada by storm this week thanks to one of the country's most watched TV shows called 'Dragons' Den.' During the show, entrepreneurs present their business ideas to a panel of Canadian business moguls in hopes of getting investment dollars. The show's investors, often described as 'ruthless,' embraced EcoTraction, a green product that is beneficial to the environment and is 100% safe for pets. With their recent retail agreement with PetSmart, North America's largest pet store chain, EcoTraction's founders hope to reach some of the millions of pet owners in Canada and the U.S.

After 4 years of hard work, eco-entrepreneurs Mark Watson and Marc Appleby received a fiery endorsement by five of Canada's most discerning investors on Monday night, November 24th, during the episode of the popular CBC TV show Dragons' Den.

With over 971,000 viewers watching the venture-capitalist television program, as per ratings (, Watson and Appleby succeeded in getting all five "dragons" on the show to unanimously embrace the green winter traction product that they created called EcoTraction.

The Ottawa Sun described the two founders of Earth Innovations Inc., the company that manufactures and distributes EcoTraction, as having "slayed all five dragons," and wrote that the "Ottawa duo had the dragons eating out of their hands." (

To see them slay the 'dragons' visit the following YouTube video of the CBC broadcast:

The Home Depot Canada has been an important partner of Earth Innovations Inc. since fall 2007. Since then, Canadians from coast to coast have been using EcoTraction as a high-traction alternative to controversial road salt and ice melters. "People love EcoTraction because its superior traction helps them prevent winter slips and falls," says Watson. "Plus, it provides instant traction in freezing rain when no other product on the market works faster or better."

The Dragons seemed quite impressed with the Ottawa entrepreneurs' presentation. They brought along a fish tank to show that fish can safely swim in a tank filled with EcoTraction and also had a houseplant that had been growing in nothing but the natural mineral for the last 3 years.

EcoTraction was created in 2005 after Watson lost his dog Grover to cancer. After consulting with a veterinary oncologist, he concluded that the cause was likely the chemicals in road salt that his dog inadvertently ingested by licking his paws after his winter walks. For more information, see February 2008 news release:

Watson partnered with Appleby to search for a green alternative to controversial road salt and ice melters, a solution that would provide long-lasting traction in all temperatures and create a safe walking zone on ice and snow. After much research, they discovered an all-natural volcanic mineral with unprecedented environmental properties that, through scientific testing, proved to be an effective ice management solution.

"The EcoTraction mineral is truly unique and provides much better traction than sand," says Appleby. "Each granule of EcoTraction is like a rigid sponge that embeds itself into ice by absorbing the thin layer of water that makes icy surfaces slippery, creating a sort of sandpaper effect."

Appleby also explains that EcoTraction is safe to touch and safe even if accidentally ingested by children, pets and wildlife. He says it will not damage grass or plants, nor any brick, stone or uncured concrete surfaces. He adds that EcoTraction will not stain clothing or carpets because it does not contain any salt, chlorides, chemicals, or dyes. "In the end, using EcoTraction is about total peace of mind," says Appleby.

Watson adds that EcoTraction actually benefits the environment. "Among a long list of unique benefits, it aerates the soil through its porous 'honeycomb' structure. It also slowly releases nutrient minerals into the soil for healthy lawns while retaining moisture which reduces watering requirements," explains Watson. "Additionally, this green mineral naturally filters the air from noxious fumes and absorbs nuisance odors, as well as absorbs and traps heavy metals from contaminated water, which can improve the water quality of our lakes and rivers."

The EcoTraction mineral may have many applications but because of what happened to his dog Grover, Watson is determined to reach pet owners and make them aware of the health dangers to their pets from road salt and chloride-based ice melters.

"Many people have pets who could be at risk this winter," says Watson. Indeed, a January 2006 survey conducted by Ipsos Reid for the Royal Bank of Canada states that over 56% of Canadian households have pets.

"It's important for us to reach out to the millions of people who have pets and tell them about the safest and greenest alternative this winter. We're glad to have recently entered into partnership with PetSmart," continues Watson. "As North America's largest pet store chain, pet owners across Canada and the U.S. will have access to EcoTraction through 550 PetSmart stores."

"PetSmart is a perfect partner because they believe in having innovative new products that can help 'pet parents' raise healthy, happy pets," says Watson. "By using EcoTraction, 'pet parents' will also be nurturing the environment."

"EcoTraction makes sense considering the difficult economic times because it provides great value due to its spread rate being much higher than any ice melter," says Appleby. "In fact, one cup of EcoTraction covers the same area as nine cups of ice melter." He also says that people can sweep it up at the end of the season and re-use it the following winter, or simply sweep it onto their lawn to help nurture healthy grass.

Consumers can find their nearest EcoTraction retailer by visiting their website at:

Watson and Appleby are available for media interviews.

For more information, please contact:
Earth Innovations Inc.
Mark Watson, CEO
613-232-4379 x104
mark at ecotraction dot com


Earth Innovations Inc.
Marc Appleby, President & VP of Operations
613-232-4379 x103
marc at ecotraction dot com


Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Mark Watson

Marc Appleby
Visit website