If you happen to be house-ridden by a blizzard this Winter, you'll probably pounce at the first chance you get to drive into town. While you may have rock salt at the ready, you should pause before scattering those granules: rock salt can actually be quite harmful to the environment. Excess salt can make the soil more acidic, disrupting the growth of your plants. Traditional rock salt is Sodium Chloride (NaCl), which contains cyanide and chloride that can endanger your water supply. Plus, rock salt residue coats the soil, preventing plants from absorbing nutrients and water.
Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives to rock salt that will help keep your shoes and your car's wheels from slipping and sliding all over the place.
- This one may seem like a big, fat "duh," but shovel! Shovel as soon as possible during a snow storm, and if it's a long-lasting storm, brave the weather and shovel while it snows. This will give the snow less time to set, and you'll have it out of the way before it melts and freezes, becoming ice!
- If you suspect the ice and snow will melt soon anyways, you can improve your traction and make your sidewalks and driveways less slippery by sprinkling them with sand, gravel, or birdseed. It won't melt the ice, but it'll prevent you from falling, and it'll keep the birds happy!
Continue reading for four more eco-friendly deicing tips!
- Before a storm comes into town, cover high-traffic areas like sidewalks, door entries, and the walk between your car and your home with a plastic tarp. Then shovel off the snow and remove it before it has a change to freeze.
- When necessary, use a salt-free deicer, such as Safe Paw or Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA), which is less harmful to plants, pets, concrete, and humans.
- Consider the weather conditions before applying a deicer. For dry, powder snow, sweep and shovel the snow instead of deicing. For heavy, wet snow, use a deicer as soon as the snow fall begins to prevent bonding. For freezing rain, use a deicer as soon as possible to prevent freezing. For serious snowfall, have your driveway plowed and shovel your walkways, and then use a deicer.
- If all else fails, pay a friendly neighbor to shovel and plow for you!