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Arkadelphia Siftings Herald - Arkadelphia, AR
  • Go Green: How to deal with snow in the driveway

  • Clearing snow and ice from the driveway and sidewalk is one of those times when concern for the environment tends to take a backseat. No one wants to spend time in the cold, chipping away at a packed-down, icy crust when we can throw some ice melter on it. And it might seem foolish to struggle with a shovel when you can fi...
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  • Clearing snow and ice from the driveway and sidewalk is one of those times when concern for the environment tends to take a backseat. No one wants to spend time in the cold, chipping away at a packed-down, icy crust when we can throw some ice melter on it. And it might seem foolish to struggle with a shovel when you can fire up a snow blower. But there are tradeoffs, of course. According to the EPA, snow blowers emit high levels of carbon monoxide as well as hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. The latter are pollutants that contribute to ground-level ozone, which impairs lung function, inhibits plant growth, and contributes to smog. Most chemical ice melters are made of some type of salt. This may sound benign, but all that salt isn’t good for the environment: it can harm plants and soils and pollute waterways. Try these ideas instead:
    Try traction
    Try using sand or another gritty substance instead of salt, for traction. These usually don’t help melt the ice, but they don’t damage the environment.
    Use less
    Even if you do use a chemical ice melter, there are ways to dial it back. Consider putting the product down before the snow falls, because it could prevent that dense layer of ice from forming. Don’t use tons of it — usually a thin, even layer will do.
    Shovel, don’t blow
    Do you really need a snow blower? If you don’t have a health problem that would contraindicate it, shoveling is actually a great workout and an environmentally friendly way to get rid of that snow. Invest in a good-quality shovel that doesn’t feel awkward to use, and dress in layers. Avoid discomfort by bending at your hips and knees rather than your back; try not to shovel with a stooped posture.
    Think ahead
    It might seem silly to shovel while the snow is still falling. But if a heavy accumulation is expected, it’s actually best to clear up a few inches of snow at a time instead of waiting for it all to come down. Your goal should be to keep your sidewalk dry, therefore preventing ice from forming.
     

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