Green's blog

Eco-safe ways to melt driveway ice

There is nothing more beautiful than a winter wonderland of freshlyfallen snow, but with it comes the hassles and dangers of frozen snow and iceon your driveway and the roads.  Shoveling often and early is the best non-toxic way to keep ice fromdeveloping, but when that is not possible, there are eco-friendly ways to treatthe ice.

Salt is the most commonly used method, and while effective and non-toxicto humans and animals, it is harmful to plants and corrosive to asphalt,concrete and cars.  It can alsoleach heavy metals into the soil and lodge in pets’ paws and burn. Calciumchloride is more plant-friendly, but is also corrosive to metals including carsand more costly than salt.  Sand isa common abrasive used for traction and to prevent ice buildup, but won’t meltice on its own.

If you are in the market for a new driveway, consider a heated one,which doesn’t use too much electricity and preserves your landscape byeliminating the need for harmful salt and chemicals.  

IceClear is a100% organic product that was developed using the latest environmental de-icingtechnology for military and commercial runways and supposedly one of thesafest, most cost effective on the market. You can use if for an ice melt or toprevent ice formation.

Some people usealfafa meal. Its high nitrogen content melts the ice and providestraction.  Another interestingoption being used by several municipalities is sugar beet juice combined withsalt brine and calcium.  Sugar beetjuice can lower the freezing point of water, and help to deice slippery roads, drivewaysand sidewalks.  It is completely harmless to humans,animals, plants, cars, fabrics, and water systems.


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 The New Year is a time for starting fresh and makingresolutions, some of which we keep and most of which we don’t.  This year why not make some of thoseresolutions “green” ones.  Thinkback over the year to your newly acquired green habits and add to them.   For example, add one new item toyour recycling that you have previously not recycled, like printer cartridges.(Staples recycles old printer cartridges and you can download mailing labelsfrom HP to send back used ones.)  Don’tjust recycle plastic containers - recycle plastic bags as well.  I keep a bag handy to store plastic bagsand take them to Whole foods whenever I shop there.  Simple!  If youare not already bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, then start doingso.  If you are, add reusableproduce bags, or bring reusable shopping bags on other errands as well. 

Lower your carbon footprint one day a week by walking,biking or taking public transportation instead of driving.  Replace your light bulbs with energyefficient CFL or LED lights.  Oneday a week eat vegetarian, a completely local dinner or even a raw meal.  One day a week cut down on yourappliance and technology usage or better yet, don’t use them at all. 

Replace one of your conventional cleaning products with anon-toxic one.  Check for simple recipes to make at home.  They work just as well, are cheaper and you willfeel good knowing you are not breathing in toxins!

It only takes three weeks to make or break a habit, so soonyour green resolutions will become part of your daily routine. You, yourpocketbook and the earth will all benefit.


Want more greenideas?  Email me