Clean & Clear

Green Snow Removal Strategies

Now, we can avoid winter’s slippery sidewalks and driveways with deicing savvy that aims to “do no harm” to our property or environment. First, be aware that overapplication of chemical deicers [usually salts] can shorten the lifespan of concrete surfaces, corrode metal railings, pollute waterways, damage soils and stunt or kill adjacent plants, according to the University of Minnesota Extension Office.

Sand isn’t much better, as it blows and washes off to clog drains and silt up waterways. Cat litter, though providing traction, can pollute as ice melts, depending on ingredients.

Both the Environmental Literacy Council and the Center for Environmental Excellence by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials recommend that we take the following steps: Shovel or sweep snow immediately to avoid the need for a deicer. When possible, apply minimum amounts of a natural, nontoxic deicer before it snows and shovel slush to prevent refreezing.

Source:; Google natural or nontoxic deicers for options.

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