Ice Removal the Green Way

Gas-guzzling, exhaust-emitting, and noise-making snow blowers are not the only methods for ice removal. Clearly, there are better, cleaner, and more earth-friendly methods of moving snow out of that pathway from your front door to the sidewalk. Alternatives range from human labor, to chemicals that eliminate ice without also eliminating wildlife in the process. And since fire is ice’s arch enemy, heat is also an obvious way to melt ice and snow. Where there’s a will to remove ice there are many, many green ways to do the job.

First Alternative - Human Labor

One good idea is to put a youth economic stimulus into play, by hiring a neighborhood youth to shovel your walk. In so doing, you’ll put a little money in his or her pocket. However, if you don’t have such a great relationship with the younger folks on your street, you can always manually do this ice removal yourself.

In so doing, sell yourself on this self-help plan with a little intelligent pain reduction in mind. Use the one-two punch of an ergonomic shovel and an ice chipper. Maybe you’ve never considered this seemingly obvious fact before, but ice chippers break up ice so much easier than the metal edge of a shovel. After all shovels are made to pick up and move matter, not break it down.

Second Alternative - Sand

If you have trouble breaking the ice, try sprinkling some sand for traction. However, keep in mind the fact that sand can also be harmful to drains. Therefore, use this sand sparingly.

Third Alternative – Calcium Magnesium Acetate-based Deicer

Whenever possible, avoid using salt as a deicer. Did you know, by the way, that calcium magnesium acetate-based deicer is a more environmentally friendly ice remover than rock salt? Studies have shown that road salt is harmful to animals, birds and fish, and pollutes lakes, streams and ground water.

As snow and ice melt, salt-laden runoff increases sodium chloride levels. If this sodium chloride gets into wetlands associated with streams, the vegetation often dies out and gives way to more salt tolerant species, such as cattails. Therefore, it can permanently alter the vegetation, wetlands and aquatic plants and invertebrates that live in streams. And don’t worry about calcium magnesium acetate-based deicer’s ice eliminating properties; this stuff is just as corrosive as tap water, so you can be certain it’ll do the job well.

Fourth Alternative – Bring On The Heat

Another good method for making ice disappear is through heating your driveway. In fact, there are companies that install radiant heating systems directly into your driveway. Granted, this tactic also utilizes electricity. However, if you energize the heated driveway in an eco-friendly way, it can end up being the greenest and simplest method to remove snow and ice.