Icy sidewalks, driveways and walkways are an age-old dilemma that requries ice removal for safety, but is there a way to remove the ice and snow without resorting to the heavy use of salt? The truth is, there is a way for you to go green with ice removal; several in fact. Here is a look at some of the ways you can remove ice from the area around your home this year without resorting to the use of salt.
The first thing that you should try is to carefully shovel the snow away. To avoid back and other injuries, make sure that you are not lifting more than a single shovel full with each scoop. Newer types of snow shovels offer special handles that are designed to be ergonomic, taking back strain into account. If you are using an old style shovel, however, make sure to use a pushing motion more than a lifting motion as much as possible.
Make sure to shovel up as much of the snow as you can. If you leave the snow for too long, it can form a solid block of ice which will be significantly harder for you to remove. Try to avoid resorting to chemical de-icing agents as they are as damaging to the environment as salt. If you want to provide traction for pedestrians on the sidewalk, try putting down cinders and sand, which are all natural and extremely useful.
Try using an ice chipper or a straight-edge hoe to break away the remaining heavy ice. In a pinch, an ordinary shovel or a spade will also be useful for this purpose. Do not dig down using too much force, otherwise you may damage the sidewalk. You should be aiming to chip the ice more than to carve it up.
If there are particularly large loose deposits of ice, use a strong board to pry them up, then glove your hands and lift them up manually. If you have large chunks of ice to contend with, avoid using a shovel otherwise you may hurt yourself, so lift the pieces by hand instead. Break the ice into pieces that you can handle instead of trying to lift pieces that are too large. This is another good use for your hoe, shovel or spade because you can chop the ice into smaller chunks and lift them away more easily.
Another worthwhile option for you to consider is to use a snow blower, which will help you get down to the bottom layers of the ice. Once you have removed the snow and you have reached the bare surface of the sidewalk, you can use cinders and sand to coat the sidewalk to prevent ice buildup from occurring when the temperatures cool during the evening hours.