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The Environmental Impact of Snow Removal: Eco-Friendly Alternatives and Solutions

Snow and ice have to be moved out of the way in the winter or driving and walking can become hazardous, difficult, or even impossible. However, many traditional ways of dealing with snow and ice are environmentally damaging and should be replaced with eco-friendly approaches. There are many environmentally friendly options for snow removal in Barrington.

Environmental Impact of Snow Removal


The most environmentally friendly way to remove snow is to get out there and shovel it. It’s an excellent form of exercise, too, providing a full-body workout. However, be careful. It is not uncommon for unfit individuals to suffer injuries or even heart attacks while shoveling snow. If you are physically incapable of shoveling, consider hiring someone to do it. 

Battery-Powered Snowblower

Snowblowers are handy devices. However, the traditional gasoline-powered ones emit a lot of pollution into the air. If you opt for a snowblower, buy one that is powered by a rechargeable battery. 

Prevent Ice from Forming

The best way to deal with ice on walkways and driveways is to not let it form in the first place. Promptly removing all of the snow will allow the surface to quickly dry, and no ice will form. Stopping melting snow from dripping or flowing across the walkway or driveway will also prevent ice from forming. Gutters and proper landscaping can prevent snowmelt from flowing into the wrong place and turning into hazardous ice.


If ice is still a concern, instead of reaching for rock salt (sodium chloride) or any de-icing product that contains urea, choose a more environmentally friendly product to melt the ice:

  • Calcium chloride
  • Magnesium chloride
  • Calcium magnesium acetate
  • Potassium acetate

Apply these products sparingly and promptly sweep up any excess. Although they are far less environmentally damaging than urea and rock salt, chloride pollution from ice-melting products is a significant concern. One half a cup of de-icer is sufficient to treat an area the size of a car parking space. Use a small hand-held fertilizer spreader to distribute the de-icer at the correct rate evenly. 

Add Traction

Instead of melting ice with a de-icing product, try applying sand or birdseed on the surface to provide traction. Do not apply cat litter for traction. It does not work very well, contains environmentally unfriendly ingredients, and makes a mess. Birdseed is an excellent way to add traction. The birds will appreciate it and clean it up for you. 

Don’t Idle Your Car

Many people are guilty of running their car’s engine while they remove snow and ice from the car. The car is emitting polluting fumes and burning expensive fuel for no reason if you let it idle. There is no need to warm your car up before driving it. 

Under Concrete Snow-Melting Systems

If your driveway or sidewalk needs to be repoured, consider installing a snow-melting system under the concrete. These electric-powered devices can be turned on when needed, and they will gently heat up the concrete, melting snow and ice in a very easy, environmentally friendly way. However, do not rip up a perfectly good piece of concrete in order to install one of these systems; pouring new concrete is not very eco-friendly. 

Snow Melting Mats

Snow melting mats can be placed on top of existing surfaces, such as on walkways and exterior stairs. These heavy-duty rubber mats provide traction, and when they are turned on, they gently warm up, melting any ice or snow that has accumulated on their surface. Snow melting mats can be installed by anyone and just need to be plugged into a standard electric outlet to power the heating units. 

In Conclusion

Snow and ice need to be removed during the winter in order to prevent safety hazards. It is relatively easy to choose green, environmentally friendly solutions for dealing with ice and snow if you know about your options.

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Written by Mark Greene

Mark Greene is writer and life coach dedicated to helping men to perform at peak level. He shares dating advice, style tips and strategies for building wealth and success.