Every year, people use salt to clear the snow from streets, driveways, and sidewalks. It is estimated that the annual use of salt results in sales totaling $1.9 billion in the United States alone for between 8 and 10 million tons. Depending upon the weather, this amount can easily climb upwards. However, using salt comes at a cost to the environment. Scientific research clearly indicates the negative impact salt has on plants, water, and other living entities. As a result, those who are environmentally conscious are looking for other ways of ice-removal – ones that are environmentally friendly.
Keeping Sidewalks and Roads Safe in Winter
To keep roads and sideways safe, the most common method used is salt. It removes ice and snow quickly and effectively. However, if you want to want to accomplish this but also remain environmentally-friendly, consider the following. Many are excellent non-commercial substitutes while others are being prepared commercially for mass use e.g. beet juice and pickle brine.
Coffee Grounds: Are great for traction and can melt the snow and ice
Sand, Wood Chips or Birdseed: Does not melt ice but provides improved traction and can prevent slipping
Clay Kitty Litter: Make sure it is clean and not used first
Beet Juice: This does not melt the snow. It is used with salt to prevent the majority of the salt running off into streams
Alfalfa Meal: This is a fertilizer obtainable from hardware and garden stores.
There are also commercial ice melts and snow removal products that are more eco-friendly than many others are. Among the more common ones are:
Ice melts not containing sodium chloride
Ice melts where the major ingredient is magnesium chloride
“Pet- or eco-friendly melts” usually are safer for the environment but do read the list of ingredients. Many still contain sodium chloride, although in small amounts
Products containing calcium chloride are ideal ice melts – more effective than other chemicals. They also do not seem to affect plants, children, or pets, but they do appear to have a negative impact on aquatic lifeforms.
If you want to remain environmentally-friendly but do not or cannot address the situation on your own, consider using a third-party service such as Edenapp. Available through Apple, Android, and edenapp.com, it can help you find an eco-friendly ice and snow removal service in your area.
Environmentally-Friendly Snow and Ice Removal Products
Whether you live in Hamilton, Ontario, or Philadelphia PA, keeping your sidewalks and driveways free of accumulated ice and snow is important. However, it is not necessary to use products that can harm the environment on several levels. While salt has been used consistently for decades, it is time to reconsider. By using commonplace items such as coffee grounds or sand, it is possible to reduce your environmental footprint in the winter. Alternatively, you can consider the available “Pet- or Eco-Friendly” products on the market, but do realize than no commercially available product is without its problems. Ingesting any of them can lead to serious problems. However, by using little or no salt, you can make your own contribution to environmental protection while still making your property safe.