Keeping your driveway, sidewalks, and walkways ice free is often a hassle in the cold winter months. Ice on walkways is a hazard to all of us, and even our pets. One slip on the ice can mean sprained ankles, broken bones or worse. The chemicals used to keep our walkways ice free can also be a hazard to our environment. There are several ways to melt the ice in your path with minimal damage to the plant life and animals living near your home or business. You winterize your car, your home, and even your sidewalks, why not do so in a green manner?
The best way to de-ice in a green manner is to use a shovel or plow, but this is often unrealistic and time consuming especially for larger areas, not to mention back-breaking. It often isn’t enough to dry a walkway either. Sand works well and has, in many areas, replaced salt, or is used in conjunction with salt, on busy highway roads. Forty percent of the salt dried in the United States is used for deicing roadways. We can reduce this number by switching to other methods. Sand causes friction and melts ice, however it can fill up drains, and be a little messy once the ice is gone. Use it sparingly along with other forms of deicing and this should work well as a green deicer.
Salt can be more hazardous than you realize. It is a danger to salt-intolerant plants, and can even leak into the water table and eventually your drinking water. It can also do damage to metal and concrete. We all know the mess is can cause on cars once dried, and even floors after being carried in on shoes and pant legs.
Deicers claiming to be Eco friendly are usually a mixture of different kinds of salts in an effort to lessen the effects that one type of salt alone would cause. Sodium chloride, calcium chloride and magnesium chloride are the three most common types.
Another option to keep walkways ice free is by using heat. It may sound like an easy concept, but don’t take your hair driers outside just yet. Many new building plans using green practices are incorporating radiant heating into walkways and driveways. Melt the ice from the bottom up. However, this may use electricity. If you use green energy to power your heating system this is the greenest option.
Yet another option is a calcium magnesium acetate-based deicer. This is safer than the salts that can make there way to streams and waterways and harm delicate flora and fauna.
While getting rid of ice is a pain for most people, doing so in a way that is safe for your family and the wildlife and plants around you will in the big scheme of things benefit you and your family for years to come. Change the way you do daily tasks and you will change the way the world works….this includes winter deicing….happy shoveling.