How to Think Green When You See the White Stuff

Environmentally Friendly Snow- and Ice-Removal Tips

snow shoveling

Walking in a winter wonderland can be wonderful. But it can also prove hazardous. Follow these tips to keep your sidewalks and driveway snow- and ice-free, while minimizing the environmental impact:

Shovel Early, Shovel Often
Removing fresh snow before it has a chance to harden into ice is the best way to keep your pavement clear. Deicers work best on thin layers of snow or ice that need to be melted, so shovel first, break up any ice patches you can and then add the salt.

Apply Salt Sparingly
Scatter the 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 the recommended amount of salt won’t speed up melting but can harm soil and water quality.

Buy Early and Check Labels
Buy your deicing product before the big storm, so you don’t end up staring at empty shelves in the stores. Check the label before you buy — 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, as excess urea will act as a fertilizer. However, the application rate for urea is far greater than your lawn would require, and most of the excess urea will only end up fertilizing the stream.

Avoid Kitty Litter and Ashes
While these products are environmentally friendly, they 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.

Most Recent Articles

City of Rockville: Winter Weather Reminders

With winter weather on the way, Rockville is reminding the community about what to expect during snow events. This snow season, the city is again urging patience on the part of residents as operations and normal service times may be

Read More »

City Legend to Retire After 67 Years

After close to seven decades of service to the Rockville community, an iconic city employee and City Hall fixture is finally calling it quits. Elaine Crutchfield Hebron, affectionally known among staff and the local community as “Ms. Elaine,” retired in

Read More »

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Get the best of Rockville Reports delivered right to your email and stay up to date on what’s happening in our city.

Contact Us

Have a story idea? Email or call the City of Rockville’s Public Information Office.


About Rockville Reports

Rockville Reports is the official publication of the City of Rockville, published at City Hall, 111 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850-2364.