The winter can take its toll on the environment, with people using more energy than usual. Whether you’re looking for sustainable lighting or finding alternative heat sources, there is a lot for the environmentalist to think about during this time of year. One thing you may not have considered is clearing the snow from your driveway. Salt can be potentially damaging to the environment, but there are more sustainable methods available.
What’s Wrong With Salt?
For driving in snow safely, local authorities tend to cover public roads with salt. There are several problems with this for animals, plants and even humans. Firstly, the salt attracts animals who like its taste. This encourages animals to head into traffic, putting them in mortal danger. It may also burn the paws of your pets.
Secondly, the salt can saturate soil, making it difficult for plants to absorb nutrients. It will also suck all the moisture out the ground, leaving nothing left for plant life. Finally, it can leach heavy metals, which contaminates the water supply.
If you don’t want to use any energy or damage the environment at all, then use a snow shovel. This may be hard work, but it is by far the cleanest option. Your employer will understand if you are a few minutes late given the heavy snowfall.
Take your time to form a plan, so that the actual shoveling can be done as efficiently as possible. Of course, the smaller your driveway, the more feasible this is. However, by creating the shortest path from your car to the road, you can cut down the time taken to shovel snow.
If shoveling isn’t possible, then consider using electricity. This can be in the form of a snow blower or a melt mat. If you opt for the snow blower, than an electric one releases far less pollution than a gas one. When comparing electric and gas snow blowers, the gas one may be tempting due to its power. However, an electric blower is cheaper and therefore worthwhile if you wish to reduce your environmental impact.
A melt mat should be installed if you are putting down a new driveway. This can cost up to $250 each winter, but this cost can be reduced by switching to solar energy. This should only be considered if you have an extremely large driveway and regular heavy snowfall, but will do less damage than salt.
Any steps you can take to reduce your impact on the environment this winter is worthwhile. Be prepared to shovel by hand. You will get some exercise and can clear snow carbon-free. If you have to use electricity, opt for the cleanest source available.
Guest post by Sally Collins
About the Author
Sally Collins is a professional freelance writer with many years of experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.
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