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Give Green a Go When Removing Snow

Shoveling snow

Follow these tips to keep your sidewalks and driveway snow- and ice-free, while minimizing the environmental impact:

Shovel Early, Shovel Often: Deicers work best for melting thin layers of snow or ice. So, shovel first before snow hardens into ice, break up any ice patches you can and then add the salt.

Use Salt Sparingly: Scatter deicer and leave space between the grains. A 12-ounce coffee mug full of salt is enough to treat a 20-foot driveway or 10 sidewalk squares. Using more than recommended won’t speed up melting but can harm soil and water quality.

Buy Early and Check Labels: Buy before a storm forecast and avoid empty shelves in the stores. Check the label: Although slightly more expensive, calcium chloride (CaCl2) requires less salt, works at lower temperatures and does not contain cyanide, unlike sodium chloride (NaCl, also known as rock salt). Urea is sometimes promoted as lawn-friendly fertilizer. However, the application rate for urea is far greater than the amount your lawn needs and can wind up polluting streams as runoff.

Avoid Kitty Litter and Ashes: While environmentally friendly, kitty litter and ashes are only marginally effective at adding traction and don’t melt ice. If you need traction, a better option is to mix in a small amount of sand and use less salt.

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